Aug 14, 2012
The national trade association for the U.S. solar energy industry, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released a report on March 14, 2012 that showed a record 1,855 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity were added in 2011. The 2011 PV capacity more than doubled the previous record set in 2010 and is enough to power more than 370,000 homes.Cumulative PV capacity operating in the U.S. now stands at 3,954 MW.The report credited the 2011 growth to multiple factors, including falling PV equipment prices, improved installation efficiency and expanded financing. The U.S. government’s 1603 Treasury Program also ended on Dec. 31, 2011 – which motivated developers to commission projects in the 4th Quarter.Weighted average PV system prices fell 20 percent in 2011 as a combined result of lower component prices, improved installation efficiency, and a shift toward larger systems.According to the report, for the last several years the U.S. market has been driven primarily by the non-residential sector. This sector of the market generated more than 50 percent of installations through 2008. The market dynamics have, however, changed in recent years. The utility sector has expanded, while residential relatively flat. This trend continued in 2011. The largest of the three, the non-residential market or commercial installations were dominated by growth in California and New Jersey.