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US Solar Power Doubled In 2010, Set To Double Again In 2011

Solar power capacity in the US doubled last year, and could well double again in 2011, according to a report by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

This development makes solar the nation’s fastest growing energy sector. The growth has been helped by government incentives, strong demand and declining prices.

Despite the big rise, overall, the US’s global share of installed photovoltaic systems actually dropped from 6.5 percent to 5 percent, due to strong growth in Germany and Italy.

For combined photovoltaic and solar thermal power capacity, 956 megawatts were installed in 2010 alone, compared with 441 megawatts the previous year. 878 megawatts of photovoltaic systems and 78 megawatts of solar thermal power projects were installed in 2010.

Installed capacity, including both residential, commercial and utility-scale solar plants, may increase by up to 2 gigawatts in 2011, according to GTM Research, which worked with the Association on the report. The total cumulative amount of 2.6 gigawatts is enough to power more than 500,000 homes.

The US Treasury grant program reimburses 30 percent of the costs associated with installing solar. This helped increase the number of installations, the report said. The installed cost of photovoltaic systems declined by 8 percent for commercial installations and 10 percent for commercial installations.

Some countries are cutting solar subsidies this year, which could lead to further price reductions because of oversupply of solar panels.

California has the most solar power installed, with 259 megawatts of photovoltaic installed in 2010 alone, New Jersey is in second place with 137 megawatts. This is more than double the figure of 57 megawatts for the previous year.

Do you have solar installed at your home or workplace, or are you thinking about having it installed soon? If so, it seems you are not alone.

Solar panels at Google image CC licensed by Avinash Kaushik
Via Bloomberg

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