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U.S. Solar Installations Continue to Surge

A new report has shown that the U.S. installed a massive 506 megawatts of solar power in the first quarter of 2012, a record for first quarters, which are typically slower than others. It was also the second-best quarter overall, only behind the final quarter of 2011 (and it should be kept in mind that fourth quarters are typically very high due to companies working hard to get projects finished by the end of the year).

The data comes courtesy of the U.S. Solar Market Insight, 1st Quarter 2012 report conducted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research, which found that the U.S. is still a solar growth market led by strength in the commercial sector in Q1.

According to the report, utility-scale will continue to drive U.S. solar growth, and if things continue in such good form, 2012 has the chance to be another banner year, with an increased forecast for 2012 of 3.2 gigawatts. The U.S. market grew 109 percent from 2010 to 2011 and will grow another 75 percent from 2011 to 2012.



Some more stats from the report:

  • The cumulative total of solar photovoltaics across America is 4,427 megawatts (4.427 gigawatts).
  • Adding CSP to that figure brings the total to 4,943 megawatts (4.493 gigawatts).
  • A total of 1.1 gigawatts (AC) of CSP are now under construction.
  • Blended module prices for Q1 2012 were down to $0.94 per watt, a staggering 47 percent lower than Q1 2011 levels of $1.78 per watt.
  • New Jersey edged out California in Q1 for the lead in solar installations with 174 megawatts. Sorry, California.

Shayle Kann, the Managing Director of GTM Research, saw the New Jersey number as surprising, given the plunging market price of SRECs in that state. Sadly, things do not look great for 2013, with an expired 1603 tax grant, impacts of an import tariff on solar cells from China, and a “trough” in California and New Jersey loom large.

However, Kann expets “the U.S. market to regain momentum thereafter and continue along its path to become a global PV market leader by 2015.”

Source: Green Tech Media

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