Awash in a glut of renewable energy credits, Pennsylvania dropped from No. 6 to No. 11 among states for the number of new solar installations in 2012, even as the industry nationwide enjoyed its best year in its history.
The state's new installations totaled 54.4 megawatts in 2012, down from 87.9 megawatts in 2011, according to U.S. Solar Insight, a report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association.
California and Arizona were the No. 1 and 2 states in 2012, with Pennsylvania neighbor New Jersey coming in at No. 3, the report said.
"Pennsylvania continues to suffer from SREC oversupply due to a massive build-out of systems in 2010 and 2011," it said.
SRECs are Solar Renewable Energy Certificates — credits that solar installation owners can sell to utilities. Buying them helps power companies meet their mandated renewable energy goals.
The oversupply will continue in 2013, but $7.25 million in new funding for the PA Sunshine solar rebate program "will allow a backlog of residential and small commercial projects to move forward," the report said.
Nationwide, solar had back-to-back record years in 2011 and 2012, the report said.
New installations climbed from 850 megawatts in 2010 to 1,888 megawatts in 2011 and 3,313 megawatts in 2012, the report said — increases of 122 percent and 75 percent, respectively. New U.S. installations comprised 11 percent of the world total, a record.
The report forecast 30 percent growth nationwide for solar installations in 2013, totaling 4,300 megawatts.