Greentech Lead America: The U.S. solar energy industry
has installed 1,855 MW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2011, more than
doubling the previous record of 887 MW achieved in 2010.
The record growth represents a 109 percent growth rate in
2011. With these installations the U.S. solar market’s total value surpassed
$8.4 billion in 2011.
The new solar installation is enough to power more than
370,000 homes, and marks the first time the U.S. solar market has topped one
gigawatt in a single year.
Declining installed solar PV system prices, which fell 20
percent last year and a shift toward larger systems have stimulated this rapid
growth. The December 31 expiration of the U.S. government’s 1603 Treasury
Program prompted developers to commission projects before year-end.
“In 2011, the market demonstrated why the U.S. is
becoming a center of attention for global solar. It was the first year with
meaningful volumes of large-scale PV installations; there were 28 individual PV
projects over 10 megawatts in 2011, up from only two in 2009,” said Shayle
Kann, managing director of GTM Research’s solar practice.
Cumulative PV capacity in the U.S. reached nearly 4,000
MW and cumulative CSP capacity topped 500 MW at 2011. Together this represents
enough solar capacity to power nearly a million households. More than 1,000 MW
of CSP are under construction, and expected to come online at 2012.
In U.S., policies are working to open new markets and
remove barriers for solar and the solar industry is the fastest growing
industry in America for the second year in a row.