The installed generating capacity of U.S. photovoltaic (PV) solar power grew 83 percent in 2012, according to a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The NREL released its annual Renewable Energy Data Book on November 21, and the information contained therein provides a good picture of the status of renewable energy in the United States, particularly regarding the solar industry.

Overall, renewable energy now accounts for 14 percent of all installed generating capacity, up from 12.9 percent in 2011. Most of that 14 percent consists of hydroelectric power, but a growing proportion of it comes from the rapidly expanding solar and wind industries. The former added 3,333 megawatts (MW) last year, while the latter completed 13,131 MW in 2012.

These are remarkable numbers considering where these technologies stood ten years ago, but quite a bit more needs to be added to put the United States on a more responsible and sustainable path. At the moment, only 0.6 percent of electricity generation comes from PV panels, and only 5.1 percent is derived from wind power. However, that both industries experienced such substantial growth in just the last year is certainly positive news.

One of the main reasons that solar energy solutions have become so popular is that these systems allow homeowners and businesses to save thousands of dollars in electricity costs. If you’ve not yet heard about the tremendous benefits of switching to this technology for your power needs, we recommend contact West Coast Solar today to schedule a consultation. We can walk you through the installation process and provide an estimate on how much money you’ll save by making the switch!