Dec. 16, 2011 US sets solar installation record

From July to September the United States installed solar panels responsible for generating 449 megawatts (MW) of electricity, the largest quarterly increase in the country to date.

The utility and commercial sector saw the majority of solar additions, but residential areas also saw healthy growth with a 21 percent bump to 75MW.

So far this year the US has seen over 1 gigawatt (GW) of electricity generated from solar panels, a substantial increase over 2010’s 880MW total.

However, many of the past year’s solar projects have benefited from a federal program that provides cash grants to help cover development costs.

With this grant set to expire at the end of the year, unless another finance mechanism is passed the solar sector could lose the momentum gained over the past several years.