The average cost of going solar in the U.S. decreased significantly in 2010 and through the first half of 2011, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Solar advocates applaud the report as the latest indicator that solar is ready to power America’s new energy economy.

“The solar power industry is the fastest growing industry in America,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “We are delivering strong economic returns and good jobs at increasingly competitive prices, as this National Lab report shows. This report is further proof of what Americans from across the country already know: smart solar policy creates jobs and economic growth for communities hit hard by the recession.”

“Solar is ready to play a significant role in our nation’s energy economy,” said Carrie Hitt, president of the Solar Alliance, a state-focused alliance of solar manufacturers, integrators and financiers. “It’s reliable, it’s scalable, it’s safe, and now we’re seeing that it’s cost competitive with conventional electricity resources in many parts of the country. The American solar industry has achieved these tremendous cost reductions and economic benefits while still supplying less than 1% of our national energy mix. Just imagine what the coming years could have in store if the U.S. solar market is allowed to continue its robust growth.”

The latest edition of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s “Tracking the Sun,” an annual report on solar photovoltaic (PV) costs in the U.S., examined more than 115,000 PV systems installed between 1998 and 2010 across 42 states. For more information or to access the report, visit