Homeowners in the U.S. installed rooftop systems at a record pace in the first quarter as more than half of the electricity capacity added in the country was solar.
Residential installations jumped 76 percent from a year earlier to 437 megawatts, according to a report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. That helped increase total U.S. solar capacity by 1.3 gigawatts, the sixth straight quarter more than 1 gigawatt was added.
The first quarter “provided a clear glimpse into the future role that the residential sector will play as a primary driver of not only solar-market growth, but the overall electricity-generation mix,” Shayle Kann, senior vice president at Boston-based GTM Research, said in a statement Tuesday.
Full-year installations are expected to reach 7.9 gigawatts, a 27 percent increase from last year.
By 2016, solar will power about 8 million homes and offset 45 million metric tons of emissions, the equivalent of eliminating 10 million cars, according to the report.