Americans installed a record number of rooftop solar panels in 2012, according to a recent Solar Energy Industries Association report. The group expects a total national installation of 3.2 gigawatts this year, 684 megawatts of which was installed in the third quarter alone. And fourth quarter rooftop panel projects could double to 1,200 megawatts – the highest number ever.

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A drop in solar panel prices combined with the rise of leasing programs has made it less costly and easier for homeowners to invest in rooftop solar panels, Bloomberg News reports, resulting in a surge of residential solar installations. “While Q3 2012 was remarkable for the U.S. PV market, it is just the opening act for what we expect to see in Q4,” Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM Research, said in the statement.

More companies and government agencies are turning to solar energy as well, SEIA announced. Such programs rose 24 per cent in the third quarter to a total of 258 megawatts. This trend will continue with installations expected to soar an additional 25 per cent next year to 4 gigawatts. Even as our leadership lags in the face of climate change, the people are taking power into their own hands.

Via Bloomberg

Images of rooftop solar panels, Shutterstock