2010 U.S. Solar Market: $6 billion

In 2010, the U.S. solar market grew 67% to $6 billion.  PV installations doubled to 878 megawatts.  And still, the U.S. continues to be outpaced by the Germans and Italians, with U.S. market share of PV installations falling to 5% of the global market in 2010.

(These facts and figures are from the Solar Energy Industry Association’s (SEIA’s) 2010 Year in Review.  The Executive Summary (pdf) is here.)

Bar graph of US PV installations 2005-2010The key graph, in my opinion, is that of US PV installations.  With the 2010 doubling, installations are clearly exhibiting better than linear growth.  In fact, it may optimistically be called exponential growth.  And that acceleration in growth is key for moving to that clean energy economy that is all the political rage right now.

A few more facts and figures…  Residential PV installations cost between $5/watt to $8/watt.  Utility installations averaged between $4/watt and $5/watt.  And California has been losing market share, dropping from 80% of the US PV market in 2004–05 to 30% in 2010.  And 1/3 of all grid-connected PV systems were connected in 2010 (52,600 out of a total of 152,516 systems).

At the utility scale, 6.4 gigawatts of concentrated solar power (CSP) projects with signed power purchase agreements are set for completion between 2011 and 2017.  BLM granted permits for 8 major solar projects: 2 PV and 6 CSP.  Two of those CSP projects have since been sold to PV developers.