SUN RISES HIGHER AND HIGHER: The U.S. installed 7.29 gigawatts of new solar projects in 2015, up 16.8 percent from last year and a record for the industry. California led the way, followed by North Carolina, Nevada, Massachusetts and New York, GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association will announce today. While more solar capacity was installed than natural gas in 2015, wind outpaced both (though gas turbines run more hours than solar or wind, and can produce more electricity than a similarly sized solar plant). The residential solar market grew 66 percent and added more than 2 gigawatts last year, but utility scale installations still led the pack and with more than 4 gigawatts, which is up about 6 percent from 2014. SEIA and GTM Research are expected to release a more detailed report on March 9.