More than 27,000 US homes and businesses installed solar energy systems during the quarter, says the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research.
A combination of declining solar system costs (below US$6/W in Q3) and state and Federal support are propelling solar growth across residential, commercial and utility-scale market segments in the US.
“The third quarter, and this year as a whole, has been a banner year for PV in the US,” says Shayle Kann, GTM Research’s Managing Director of Solar. “With the combination of ARRA incentives, the Treasury Cash Grant, and a compelling cost environment, PV installations have spiked across all market segments.”
In Q3 solar electric installations California led the way with over 67 MW of new capacity, followed by New Jersey, Florida, Arizona and Colorado.
For solar heating and cooling systems, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Puerto Rico, and Florida were the leading markets.
By the end of the quarter, the US had installed 530 MW of solar PV (435 MW were installed in all of 2009).
GTM Research forecasts further growth in the fourth quarter, with total 2010 solar PV installations poised to reach 855 MW.
Concentrating solar power (CSP) installations and solar heating and cooling installations in the last quarter of the year could drive total 2010 US solar installations above 1 GW for the first time.
“This report for the third quarter shows what many of us already suspected; that 2010 will be a historic year for solar energy in the United States. Thanks to a variety of factors, including the 1603 program, the solar industry is on pace to grow by over 100% and install more than 1 GW of solar in 2010. This is the first time we have crossed this threshold,” says Rhone Resch, President and CEO of SEIA.
“And the promise for 2011 is even greater. With the 1603 program on the cusp of being extended, combined with the continuing decline in system costs for consumers, solar is poised to create tens of thousands of jobs and install even more capacity than 2010. It is truly an exciting time for our industry.”