America Beats Germany in Solar Power for First Time in 15 Years

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Dec. 10 2013 1:47 PM

U.S. Beats Germany in Solar Power for First Time in 15 Years

The U.S. solar-power industry is heating up.
The U.S. solar-power industry is heating up.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Soccer. Beer. Philosophy. Solar Power. All categories in which Germany has historically dominated the United States. But the last of those, at least, may finally be changing.

For the first time in 15 years, the United States is on track to add more solar power to its grid than Germany, according to a new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Take that, Fox News analysts.

US vs Germany solar PV installations

Chart courtesy of GTM Research

Advertisement

Germany remains the world leader in total installed capacity, thanks to years of generous government subsidies. And of course it is a far smaller country, so its solar power per capita continues to dwarf that of the United States. Still, we should take what we can get, like the U.S. men’s soccer team celebrating its victory over Die Mannschaft in a friendly match this past summer.

The U.S. solar win comes courtesy of a strong third quarter, in which Americans installed more solar panels on their homes than they have in any other quarter in history. It was the country’s second-biggest quarter for solar power overall, behind a record-shattering fourth quarter of 2012.

Prices have also been falling fast, with the blended average photovoltaic-system price hitting a new low of $3 per watt.

Here were the top give U.S. states for solar installations in the most recent quarter:

  1. California
  2. Arizona
  3. North Carolina
  4. Massachusetts
  5.  Nevada

The full report is here.

More from Slate on solar power: 

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.