US solar power market reaches US$6bn in 2010

10 Mar 2011

The US solar energy industry grew by 67pc in 2010, reaching US$6bn, up from US$3.6bn in 2009, a review from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research revealed today.

The U.S. Solar Market InsightTM: Year-in-Review 2010, which reported a 67pc increase, also reported that the PV market in the US made the most significant improvement in 2010, more than doubling installation totals from 2009.

In total, 878 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity and 78MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) were installed in the US in 2010, enough to power an estimated 200,000 homes.

Cost declines played a fundamental role in the 2010 solar expansion, as technology costs decreased dramatically and the industry developed further, capitalising on greater economies of scale and improved installation practices.

“The US PV market saw a breakthrough in 2010 and is emerging as a global demand centre for both suppliers and project developers,” said Shayle Kann, managing director of solar at GTM Research. “The U.S. Solar Market InsightTM: Year-in-Review 2010 examines the conditions that led to the past year’s growth and pinpoints future demand, industry trends and market challenges for 2011 and beyond.”

Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO, said, “This remarkable growth puts the solar industry’s goal of powering 2m homes annually by 2015 within reach.

“The bottom line is that the solar energy industry is creating tens of thousands of new American jobs each year.”

Decline in US share of global PV solar installations

US share of worldwide PV solar installations fell 5 pc last year from 6.5pc in 2009, due to growth in Germany and Italy, as a result of generous government incentives.

The US also witnessed significant growth in the manufacturing sector, with a substantial increase in its production of solar components substantially in 2010. Production of solar modules grew 62pc, while wafer production rose 97pc and cell manufacturing increased 81pc.

Despite the successful results in 2010, three domestic PV facilities were forced to close due to competitive low-cost regions, such as China.