“In 2011, the market demonstrated why the U.S. is becoming a center of attention for global solar,” Shayle Kann, managing director of GTM Research’s solar practice, said in a statement. “It was the first year with meaningful volumes of large-scale PV installations; there were 28 individual PV projects over 10 megawatts in 2011, up from only two in 2009. Furthermore, the market continued to diversify nationally; eight states installed more than 50 megawatts of solar each last year, compared to just five in 2010. These are all indicators of a vibrant market.”
California, as usual, led the way in new solar PV, with 542 MW of capacity installed in 2011, with New Jersey (313 MW), Arizona (273 MW), New Mexico (116 MW), Colorado (91 MW), Pennsylvania (88 MW), New York (60 MW), North Carolina (55 MW), Texas (47 MW) and Nevada (44 MW) rounding out the top 10. In all, the report said, there were more than 61,000 PV systems installed in the U.S. in 2011, pushing the nation’s total to around 214,000.
On the manufacturing front, the data showed a U.S. industry in realignment. While installations increased dramatically, domestic and global demand didn’t keep pace with the huge increase in production capacity the industry experienced in 2010, leading to retrenchment among producers. The report said that in 2011 the U.S. produced 40,658 metric tons of polysilicon, 384 MW of wafers, 969 MW of cells, 1,219 MW of modules and 1,653 MW of inverters—flat compared to 2010 for polysilicon and modules, and down significantly on wafers and cells.
The report said 68 percent of the modules produced in the U.S. in 2011 were crystalline silicon, with cadmium telluride (23%) and CIGS (7%) the only other real contributors. Thin-film made up just a shade under one-third of production, “but this is expected to increase over the course of 2012 and 2013 as numerous thin fi lm facilities come on-line and ramp up production,” the report said.
The executive summary of the report is available online.
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