Monday, November 1, 2010

US photovoltaic industry

According to the latest reports the US solar PV market grew 36% in 2009 despite the global financial crisis. However, financial crisis was still heavily felt as this number is significantly smaller compared to 2008 when there was 62% growth of US solar energy market. Looking at this data from global perspective in 2009 US was ranked fourth largest solar photovoltaic market, behind Germany, Italy and Japan.

Projections for year 2010 are even better. According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) the United States is on track to experience a record year for PV installations in 2010. In the first half of the year 339 MW of grid-connected PV were installed. On an annual basis, this represents 55% growth over the 435 MW installed in 2009, but SEIA expect even higher growth because many projects will rush to commence construction in order to meet eligibility deadlines for the cash grant program, and some of these projects will ultimately be connected to the grid within the year.

Craig Stevens, President of Solarbuzz, recently announced that the 2009 results for US solar industry were associated with changes in the roles of utility companies, new market entrants, lower cost PV modules from Asia and new direct-to-market approaches became more prevalent. Asian solar energy market is becoming more and more challenging, and US solar industry will have to adapt quickly to these challenges to remain one of the top players in solar energy market.

Among US states California is mostly noted as the leading US state when it comes to solar energy. California currently has 53% of total US photovoltaic on-grid installations, and will likely maintain its strong position. Current predictions say that the US solar market will likely grow to between 4.5-5.5 GW which is around ten times the size of the 2009 market, an average annual growth rate of 30% per annum. Though this is still too little to challenge the dominance of fossil fuels it is still a sign that US solar industry is going forwards, and that one day solar power will be among the most important energy sources in United States.

US solar industry employs almost 100,000 people, and is projected to support over half a million American jobs by 2016. These jobs exist across many sectors of the economy—from manufacturing and engineering, to construction and sales, and across supporting industries.

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