Having achieved a “historic” year in terms of photovoltaic installations in 2011, the U.S. solar market is estimated to be worth over US$8.4 billion. Declining system prices and improved financing options were said to be among the key growth drivers. Going forward, 2012 is predicted to be a another strong year, with 2.8 GW of installations expected.
In 2011, the U.S. installed a “record” 1.85 gigawatts (GW) worth of photovoltaics, compared to 887 megawatts (MW) in 2010, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research, titled “US solar market insight”. This, they point out, is the first time the country has topped a gigawatt in a single year. Of this total figure, 755 MW was added to the grid in the fourth quarter (Q4) alone. Consequently, cumulative installed photovoltaic capacity is said to be 3.94 GW.
“The record amount of solar installations is enough to power more than 370,000 homes, and represents a 109 percent growth rate in 2011,” said SEIA in a statement released. Furthermore, domestic diversification continued, with eight states installing more than 50 MW each, up from five in 2010; and 28 projects were said to be over 10 MW in size, compared to just two in 2009.