The U.S. solar energy industry installed a record 1,855 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2011, more than doubling the previous annual record of 887 MW set in 2010, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report. The record amount of solar installations is enough to power more than 370,000 homes, and represents a 109 percent growth rate in 2011. It is the first time the U.S. solar market has topped one gigawatt (1,000 MW) in a single year...
According to U.S. Solar Market Insight, 2012 will be another strong year for the PV industry, with installations of more than 2,800 megawatts forecasted. Beyond 2012, the report forecasts installations to continue their ascendancy at a compound annual growth rate of 30 percent through 2016.
The bottom line: solar PV is rapidly ramping up, becoming a major league power source in the United States (and around the world). For more great news about solar, see Top Ten US Solar Stats From 2011, including this one: "weighted average system prices fell 20 percent over the course of 2011 to end the year at $4.08 per watt." That's highly significant, especially given the likelihood that the cost of large solar arrays will soon fall below $3 per watt. All in all, it's an exciting time to be in cleantech!