Recently, the United States has seen an increase in the installation of solar panels. In 2012, 16 million solar panels were installed in homes and businesses across the country, a 76 percent increase.

“The U.S. market has grown impressively year after year for a while now,” said Shayle Kann, vice president of GTM, a company that has recently researched the growing marked for solar panels. The new solar capacity that was added in the country last year accounted for 11 percent of all new solar installations worldwide, a jump from the five-seven percent it once occupied. However, many expect this growth to slow down, even as the market grows bigger.

The U.S. is one of the fastest-growing solar energy markets in the world, mostly due to the generous federal tax benefits, loans and grants that support solar technology development and deployment. Over half of the states also require their utilities to sell an increasing amount of renewable electricity.

A possible reason for the increase of popularity for solar panels is the recent decrease in price. The decrease came as a result of a global oversupply of solar panels and fierce competition. Although the price decrease benefits project developers and consumers, dozens of manufacturers have filed for bankruptcy or needed financial rescues to stay alive.

The average price for solar panel systems across all market segments decreased 27 percent from 2011 to 2012. The average price reached $5.04 per watt for a system built for a home, $2.27 per watt for projects built to serve utilities, and $4.27 per watt for other types of businesses, government agencies and nonprofits. Solar panels typically generate 100-200 watts per square meter.

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