According to GTM Research and SEIA’s Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013, photovoltaic (PV) installations increased 41 percent over 2012.

That means 4,751 megawatts (MW) of new capacity in the United States.

Commensurate with that growth was a drop in the cost to install solar fell, ending 15 percent below the record low set at the end of 2012.

The result: 445,000 solar electric systems across the United States totaling more than 12,000 MW of PV and 918 MW of CSP.

The U.S. also installed 410 MW of concentrating solar (CSP) in 2013, increasing total CSP capacity in the U.S. more than 80 percent.

The report forecasts 26 percent PV installation growth in 2014, with installations reaching nearly 6 GW - the most rapid growth is expected in the residential sector.

This growth has been engendered by the adoption of a wide range of important public policies, including the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in Congress and Net Energy Metering (NEM) at the state level.

However, President Obama released his 2015 fiscal year budget this week – eliminating the ITC completely after 2016.

The ITC would be replaced with the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which would be a huge step backward for our industry as it does not offset the up-front costs of installing solar.

SEIA issued the following press release:

 The ITC has helped to make solar energy a true American success story. Replacing it with the PTC is the wrong move at the wrong time. Since the solar ITC became law in 2006, installed solar capacity nationwide has grown from 680 megawatts (MW) to nearly 13,000 megawatts. That’s enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to power than 2.2 million homes.

Smart, forward-looking public policies like the solar ITC have helped to create 143,000 good-paying American jobs and pump tens of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, while helping to protect our environment and fight climate change. The PTC simply can’t address the upfront costs of fuel-free solar projects, and we believe the Administration’s sudden, 180-degree shift in tax policy could have devastating consequences on the future development of solar energy in America.

While we appreciate the White House’s strong support of solar in the past, the ITC should be preserved as catalyst for future economic growth.

Puget Sound Solar encourages you to contact your Federal lawmakers and press them to push for the ITC to be extended past 2016.