The Executive Summary of the report, called the U.S. Solar Market Insight™ report (a joint effort between the Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, and GTM Research, a Greentech Media company)—was generated via surveys taken with solar energy installers, solar manufacturers, state agencies (regulating or facilitating solar energy), and utilities. The full report is pricey.
The report takes into account, for example, the installed capacity in the 20 leading solar energy states (plus a cumulative breakdown for the other 30); a breakdown by residential, non-residential and utility-scale; national five-year demand projections; component pricing (for silicon, modules, inverters, etc.); and the installed capacity either by direct ownership or third-party ownership.
As the report indicates, 2010 solar energy installations (at 878 megawatts) effectively doubled those of 2009 (435 megawatts). In addition, the lion’s share of the activity, or 359 megawatts, took place in the fourth quarter of the year, putting paid to the notion that solar energy as a whole couldn’t survive the switch from Democratic majorities in the U.S. House and in various state governments as well.
Of course, political reality suggests that that damage is still to come, but consider the fact that dollar value of the solar industry rose (in 2010) from $3.6 billion to $6.0 billion—a whopping 67-percent increase.
Predictably, California again came out on top, followed by New Jersey, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Pennsylvania. Most of 2010’s success is credited to the 1603 Federal Treasury program—a program that offered a 30-percent investment tax credit for any solar property other than residential. For those companies lacking sufficient “tax appetite” (taxes owed), the Treasury also offered a cash grant.
If you’re still not impressed, take a look at the SEIA’s list of approved utility-scale projects on federal lands, or consider the fact that more than 93,000 Americans were employed in the solar energy sector in 2010.
Looks like a win-win to me.
Photo Credit: Certo Xornal via Flickr CC