According to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report published by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research:
“The U.S. solar energy industry installed a record 1,855 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2011, more than doubling the previous annual record of 887 MW set in 2010.” That’s enough to power more than 370,000 homes, signifying a 109% increase for 2011, and is the first time U.S. solar installations have exceeded 1 gigawatt in a single year.
This growth was partially due to the decline in PV system costs, which, according to this report, fell 20% last year. But much of this installed capacity was due to anticipating the expiration of the 1603 Treasury Program (grant in lieu of tax credit) on December 31, 2011, and the resulting rush to get projects commissioned beforehand. Regardless of the reasons behind the growth, we now have a lot more PV systems pumping clean energy onto the grid. It appears that we are indeed headed in the direction of a renewable energy future.
According to Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, “The solar industry is the fastest-growing industry in America for the second year in a row. What we are seeing in the United States is that policies are working to open new markets and remove barriers for solar. The industry is now poised for years of multigigawatt growth and the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs.”
For 25 years, Home Power magazine has been on a mission to change the way people generate and use energy, one system at a time. We have become the in-print and online venue for homeowners, business owners, and renewable energy professionals to exchange experiences and information about solar equipment and system design, installation, and performance. We’re proud to be a part of the information exchange that has helped shape this growing industry.
And whether we are talking about using solar cells for charging your laptop, powering your home, or discussing large megawatt installations, each is a step in helping us reach the common goal: Reducing the use of polluting conventional energy technologies and replacing them with the infinite supply of renewable energy that surrounds us.
—Justine Sanchez, for the Home Power crew