By the end of the third-quarter of 2010, the U.S. solar industry installed more solar than it had in the whole year of 2009. And a crush of new projects will likely bring the amount of PV installed in the U.S. to 855 megawatts, more than double the 435 MWs installed in 2009.
That’s according to a new report, U.S. Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2010, that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research issued today. The report looks at the broad spectrum of the solar industry, including photovoltaics (PVs), concentrating solar power (CSP), and solar heating and cooling.
The report found that 2010 already is a banner year for the U.S. photovoltaic market. Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 530 megawatts of PV were installed.
“Already, this represents 22 percent growth over the 435 MW installed in 2009,” the report stated. “If the installation rate through the third quarter were annualized, the U.S. would install a total of 706 MW in 2010, up 62 percent over 2009. Early fourth-quarter data suggests that there will be a late-year surge in installations, resulting in total 2010 demand of 855 MW, well above the current pace.”
“The commercial market grew 38 percent over the second quarter,” said Shayle Kann, GTM Research managing director, solar research and report author.
Overall, 188 megawatts of PV were installed in the third quarter, with the majority, 103 MWs, being installed at non-residential locations. During the third quarter, 27,000 U.S. homes and businesses installed PV.
While the report tracks the industry quarterly, it’s in its first year, Kann said. As such, there are no comparative figures from the prior year period.
According to the report, “The U.S. PV market has grown at an average annual rate of 69 percent over the past ten years, rising from just 3.9 megawatts (MW) in 2000 to 435 MW in 2009.” With 855 MWs projected for the full-year of 2010, the country’s PV market is set to outpace the average growth rate significantly.
“The U.S. market is roughly doubling [in 2010] as is the global market,” Kann said. That means the U.S. will continue to account for only 6.5 percent of global PV demand in 2010, as it had in 2009. Germany, Italy and Japan led the world in solar installations in 2009.
“However, with continued pricing reductions and strong incentives, the U.S. could become the next major PV growth market,” the report said.
Kann said that the U.S. PV installations could grow to 1.5 gigawatts (1,500) in 2011. If the Treasury grants are re-upped, as expected, even more PV could be installed.
“The U.S. PV market will grow more than global demand in 2012 and beyond,” he said.
The demand, according to the report, is driven by the 1603 Treasury Cash Grants, state-level incentives, and a module price crash, which led to improved project economics.
Growth was concentrated in five markets: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida and New Jersey.
Image courtesy of GTM Research.