US solar installation records were set in 2011 according to a recent report from GTM research and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The U.S. installed 1,855 MW (or 1.86 GW) of solar in 2011 (representing 109% growth over 2010) and is expected to install a full gigawatt more than that in 2012: 2.8 GW. Furthermore, the fourth quarter of 2011 saw 776 MW of PV installed, by far the most of any quarter in U.S. market history (473 MW was the previous record, set in the third quarter of 2011). Growth occurred in every market segment—residential, non-residential and utility—and in 18 of the 23 states that are tracked individually.
As written in a Renewable Energy World article, “The report points to two important factors that drove the massive amount of installation in the U.S. First, declining module prices meant that overall system prices dropped 20 percent. Second, expiring solar power incentives, such as the 1603 Grant in Lieu of Tax Credit forced developers to begin projects before the end of 2011.”
Other 2011 Q4 U.S. Solar Market Insight Key Report Findings include:
- PV installations grew 109% in 2011 to reach 1,855 MW, which represents 7.0% of all PV globally, up from 887 MW and 5.0% of global installations in 2010.
- Cumulative PV capacity operating in the U.S. now stands at 3,954 MW.
- There were 28 individual PV projects over 10 MW completed in 2011, up from only two in 2009.
- Eight states installed over 50 MW each in 2011.
- Installation totals in 2011 increased in 18 of the 23 states covered in detail.
- Weighted average PV system prices fell 20% in 2011 as a combined result of lower component prices, improved installation efficiency, and a shift toward larger systems.
- There were over 61,000 individual PV systems installed in the U.S. in 2011, bringing the total number of operating systems in the U.S. to more than 214,000.