U.S. Solar Industry Grows 66% Q1/10 – Q1/11
In what continues to be an era of slow growth for the U.S. economy, the domestic solar industry continued its impressive growth rate into the first quarter of 2011, according to a report released last month by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.
Compared to the first quarter of 2010, the industry grew 66%, while domestic manufacturing of PV equipment grew at 31%. 2010 itself was an outstanding year; with 887 megawatts installed, it more than doubled the total for the year before, and the Q1 2011 figure represents over 28% of that 2010 annual figure.
This is not data to take to an international conference, however. Solar growth overseas has been accelerating even faster than at home, with the result that U.S. global market share has decreased since 2009 from 6% to 5.1%.
There is better news on the utility-scale front, however, where the U.S. may become the world leader in the next couple of years. Some 1100 megawatts of concentrating solar and concentrating PV power is currently under construction, with eight times that much in the planning stage.
The report also shows that 88% of this year's solar installations were in just seven states: California, New Jersey, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York and Massachusetts, a 12% increase on 2010's figure. It appears that those states already leading the pack are finding reasons to increase their solar investment.