U.S. Solar Energy Growth Continues to Crush Records
Some of the key findings:
252 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected photovoltaics (PV) were added in the 1st quarter of 2011.
That is a 66% growth over 1st quarter 2010 installations.
Cumulative grid-connected solar electric installations grew to 2.85 gigawatts (GW) in the 1st quarter of 2011. To put that into useful perspective for most of us, that is enough power for ~600,000 U.S. homes.
The 3 PV market sectors (residential, commercial, and utility) all grew, but commercial installations grew the most.
Continually dropping solar equipment costs and a rush to take advantage of Section 1603 Treasury program incentives (previously anticipated to expire at the end of 2010 but now extended through the end of 2011) were the major factors spurring on rapid growth across the solar energy market.
7 of the 21 states analyzed accounted for 88% of solar energy growth (compared to 82% of growth in the 1st quarter of 2010), indicating the clear importance and superiority of certain state policies and programs. (See more on that in the chart above and the charts below.)