Strong consumer demand and federal and local financial incentives are propelling growth in the U.S. solar market, according to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Solar Market Trends report for 2010.
July 5, 2011 — Strong consumer demand and federal and local financial incentives are propelling growth in the U.S. solar market, according to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Solar Market Trends report for 2010.
The report includes 2010 installation data for solar electric (photovoltaic), solar heating and cooling, and concentrating solar technologies.
Overall, installed capacity in 2010 was “double what it was in 2009,” said Larry Sherwood, chief author of the annual report. The biggest growth sector was photovoltaic utilities, with quadrupled installed capacity, based largely on state-level renewable energy goals, said Sherwood. Residential and commercial solar PV installs grew by more than 60%, fueled by state and federal incentives.
Sherwood adds that more than 124,000 new solar heating, cooling and solar electric installations took place in 2010, with very uneven distribution across various states. California is still the largest US solar market (28% of installed capacity completed in 2010 was installed there), but Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Texas made huge strides, at least doubling their installed photovoltaic capacity since 2009.
Two new concentrating solar power (CSP) plants were connected to the grid in 2010, with a combined capacity of 76MW (75MW of this at one FL plant). Information on other solar technologies (solar pool heating, etc.) can be found in the report.
Given the long-term extension of the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), Sherwood is optimistic about solar’s continued growth. On top of the ITC, 2011 will see a federal cash grant program deadline, which should “spur market growth” even more, he said.
Several companies have announced plans for large solar electric projects (PV and CSP) in the US, with on-line dates from 2011 to 2014.
You can read the full report on the IREC website: http://irecusa.org/