Solar power has record year despite bankruptcies
It was a record year for solar installations in the United States in 2012, boosting an industry still struggling with consolidation and bankruptcies.
Over 3.3 gigawatts of solar power were installed last year, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group. That's enough to power about 500,000 homes, and it was a 76% increase from 2011.
The industry credited the jump to the declining price of solar panels, stable tax incentives and better financing options.
The industry estimates it now employs 119,000 people in the United States -- a 13% jump over last year. It's expecting another record year for solar installations in 2013.
The price of solar panels has declined 60% since the beginning of 2011, according to SEIA. Lower prices for silicon -- a main ingredient in the panels -- and massive investments in manufacturing capacity, especially by the Chinese, have helped push down prices.