|To say that the solar power industry in the United States is booming is truly an understatement. It’s estimated that a new solar photovoltaic (PV) system is installed every four minutes, a fact highlighted by Maryland’s rapidly expanding residential solar power market.According to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review, the Old Line State more than doubled its amount of installed solar capacity in 2014. Also, nearly half — 48% — of Maryland’s electrical capacity came from solar energy.
Just last year, Maryland added an additional 73 megawatts (MW) to its solar electric capacity, bringing the state’s total to a whopping 215 MW. That’s enough affordable and sustainable energy to power almost 25,000 average homes. While the report focused on Maryland’s flourishing residential solar power market, the state also experienced an increase in commercial solar system installations.
Of the 73 MW of solar electric capacity added last year, 40 MW were residential while the remaining 33 MW were commercial. Combined, these installations represent a staggering $221 million investment across the the state of Maryland, which is a 95% increase from the previous year.
“To put the state’s solar growth in some context, the 215 MW of solar PV installed today in Maryland is nearly as much as the entire country had installed by 2005. And frankly, the state is just scratching the surface of its enormous potential,” explained Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Looking forward, we expect 2015 to be another good year for new PV installations across the state, with growth topping 100 percent.”
Maryland’s thriving solar power market has also expanded into the higher education sector. Recently, the University of Maryland announced plans to install roughly 7,000 solar panels — enough to power over 218 average U.S. homes for an entire year — on the roof tops of three parking garages by December 2016, according to university officials. This would bring more clean, sustainable energy to the campus.