John Downey, Senior Staff Writer- Charlotte Business Journal
North Carolina remains the Southeast’s hot spot for solar development, according to the most recent figures compiled by SNL Energy.
But interest in solar projects has rapidly ramped up in Florida, SNL says. And with the help of some particularly large projects, the Sunshine State could be neck-and-neck with North Carolina if all currently planned projects in both states are built.
In an article based on figures as of June 3, SNL’s Charlotte Cox reports that solar development had its best first quarter in U.S. history.
Cox reports that 297 megawatts worth of utility-scale solar power projects were built in the country in the first three months of the year. That is more than twice the 122 megawatts built in the first quarter of 2012.
However, it was well below the 794 megawatts installed in the fourth quarter of 2012, which was the largest quarter ever for the industry.
Still, Cox writes:
Because the first quarter of each year historically has the least capacity installed of any quarter, the strong first quarter of 2013 may indicate a banner year for solar PV (photo-voltaic). Solar PV installations have grown tremendously in recent years, with a 111% gain between 2012 and 2011, and a 210% gain between 2011 and 2010. At the end of the first quarter of 2013, the U.S. had 3,433 MW of operating grid-connected solar PV capacity, with an additional 28,072 MW planned.
N.C. holds place
According to the figures SNL has compiled, North Carolina remains in fifth place in the nation (where it ended last year) with 245 megawatts of installed capacity. That’s behind California (1,353 megawatts), Arizona (761 megawatts), New Jersey (288 megawatt) and Nevada (270 megawatts).