Alongside support from state and federal policies, nationwide growth is being propelled across residential, commercial and utility-scale market segments by the continued decline of average system costs, which the report finds were below $6/watt in Q3 for the first time, or 8.5 percent less than Q1 averages.
The report also includes detailed data and analysis on national and leading state trends, including demand, average system costs, component costs, and manufacturing production, which culminate in five-year demand projections by technology and by state.
"The third quarter, and this year as a whole, has been a banner year for PV in the U.S.," said 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."
The company noted that in third quarter solar electric installations, California led the way with over 67 MW of new concentrated solar energy 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.
As of the end of the third quarter, the U.S. had installed 530 MW of PV, already well over the 435 MW installed in all of 2009. GTM Research forecasts further growth in the fourth quarter, with total 2010 PV installations poised to reach 855 MW. Concentrating solar power installations and solar heating and cooling installations in the last quarter of the year could drive total 2010 U.S. solar installations above 1 gigawatt – 1,000 MW – 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 percent and install more than 1 gigawatt of solar in 2010. This is the first time we have crossed this threshold," said 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."
The Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry.
GTM Research, a Greentech Media company, provides critical and timely market analysis in the form of long-form market research reports, monthly newsletters and strategic consulting services.