The American solar photovoltaic (PV) industry has grown tremendously in recent years. In 2012, more than 3,300 MW of solar power were installed throughout the United States, with a record 1,300 MW installed in the last three months of the year alone. Falling costs for hardware and installation have accelerated this trend, but it was mainly driven by public policies that generously reward those who install solar systems.
The importance of these policies has been illustrated by adoption in states that have shown the most rapid PV growth. Interestingly, the growth has not been limited to sun drenched southern and western states with their vast treeless plains. Indeed, there has been significant growth in states further north that are known to be often cool and cloudy, and where land for solar development is often in short supply.