According to GTM research and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), authors of the report, the U.S. installed 1,855 MW (or 1.86 GW) of solar in 2011 and is expected to install more than twice that number in 2012: 2.8 GW.
The report points to two important factors that drove the massive amount of installation in the U.S. First, declining module prices meant that overall system prices dropped 20 percent. Second, expiring solar power incentives, such as the 1603 Grant in Lieu of Tax Credit forced developers to begin projects before the end of 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, the industry installed 755 MW, up 115 percent from Q4 2010.
GTM Research and SEIA estimate the U.S. solar market’s total value surpassed $8.4 billion in 2011.
In addition the report highlights the U.S.’s growing share of the global installed PV capacity. In 2010, the U.S. held five percent of the world’s installed capacity, a number that grew to seven percent in 2011.
“In 2011, the market demonstrated why the U.S. is becoming a center of attention for global solar,” said Shayle Kann, Managing Director of GTM Research’s solar practice.
Developers worldwide are eyeing the U.S. market as the next booming solar location. Up until now, Germany and Italy have installed the lion’s share of PV capacity.