According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar power installations increased 67% in the 4th quarter of 2011. Of course this was largely driven by the expiration of the 1603 Treasury program, which the solar industry is working hard to get renewed and Obama included in his latest budget proposal. Additionally, if you haven’t heard (a joke for our regular readers), solar panel prices fell off a cliff in 2011.
In total, 700-750 megawatts of rooftop solar energy projects and ground-mounted solar energy projects were installed in the 4th quarter. 450 megawatts were installed in the 3rd quarter.
U.S. Solar Energy Projects in the Wings
With still-dropping solar panel prices and a renewal of the U.S. Treasury Department’s 1603 program (take action here to push for that renewal), SEIA notes that solar power installations could grow by 3,000 megawatts to 4,000 megawatts in 2012.
“Extension of this worthwhile program will allow taxpayers to reap the significant economic and energy policy benefits associated with the expanded deployment and use of solar energy,” SEIA writes.
“The 1603 program has helped leverage over $24 billion in private sector investment in for a wide range of clean energy projects, and extending the 1603 program will create an additional 37,000 jobs in the American solar industry in this year alone,” President and CEO Rhone Resch states.