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Average Size of U.S. Solar Installations: Small

| Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on Jul 23, 2012 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Big dreams for renewable energy often goad people into imagining big solar projects, with acres of panels.  But lots of smaller projects are just as likely to add up to big numbers.

Counting solar projects from California and New Jersey (which together make up half the U.S. solar market), the average size of an American solar project is just 34 kilowatts (kW). This squares with findings from Germany, where their 25 gigawatt solar capacity is mostly rooftop projects 100 kW and smaller.

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About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. More

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  • David Gower

    My thoughts exactly!

  • Bob Tregilus

    But sadly, almost all of that capacity is installed under net-metering programs, which are sized to offset the onsite load, thereby doing little to green the grid.

    It would be interesting to estimate the amount of capacity that wasn’t installed due to onsite load limitations and the operator’s inability to earn a reasonable ROI for the energy they generate and feed into the gird?