Growth Of U.S. Solar Market Spurred By Tax Incentives
On April 21, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released its 2007 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review produced in conjunction with the Prometheus Institute. The report noted that 254 megawatts of photovoltaic and concentrating solar power were installed in 2007. This included 150 MW of grid-tied PV, 40 MW off-grid, and 64 MW of CSP. Another estimated 1,000 megawatts (thermal) were installed as solar hot-water and space heating (100 MW-thermal) and pool heating (900 MW-thermal).
The report highlights growth of the U.S. Solar Energy Market:
- U.S. Installed grid-tied PV grew 45 percent in 2007 from 2006.
- U.S. Installed grid-tied PV increased by 12,714 installations in 2007, more than two times the 5,813 installations in 2005.
- Big-box retail stores led the PV installation boom including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Home Depot and others.
- The U.S. market is fourth in the world (after Germany - 1st, Japan - 2nd, Spain - 3rd); Germany installs eight times as much as the U.S.
- States that expanded their solar energy incentive programs in 2007 were NJ, FL, MD, NY, NV, NC, WA, NM.
- Top states for 2007 installed grid-tied PV: CA (87.1 MW); NJ (16.4 MW); NV (14.6); CO (12.4 MW); NY (4.4 MW)
- 4 GW (4,000 MW) of utility-scale CSP plants are in the pipeline.
- U.S. PV manufacturing increased 74 percent, led by thin-film production
“As the country celebrates Earth Day and Congress evaluates different paths to secure and clean energy supplies, it is worth noting that with modest, temporary policy we can see such tremendous growth in such a short time," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. "In two years, solar energy has proven to be an economic engine for this country, creating thousands of green-collar jobs, unleashing billions in investment dollars, and building manufacturing from Ohio to Michigan to Oregon. Today, Congress has a chance to move our nation to a clean energy future while at the same time expanding our economy."
Federal investment tax credits for installing both residential and commercial solar energy systems expire Dec. 31. Several bills in Congress include extensions and, in some cases, improvements to the tax credits: Feb. 27 House-passed bill H.R. 5351, Apr. 10 Senate-passed H.R. 3221 with the Cantwell-Ensign amendment (S.A. 4419), and a Senate proposed 2008 tax extenders bill reported out of the Senate Finance Committee on Apr. 17.