$6-billion solar industry logs another record year
The solar industry seems to have turned in yet another record-breaking year in 2010, as the total market value of the sector spiked 67% to $6 billion from $3.6 billion in 2009, according to an annual report.
Companies installed 878 megawatts of photovoltaic solar and 78 megawatts of concentrating solar power facilities, enough to power about 200,000 homes, according to trade group Solar Energy Industries Assn. and GTM Research on Thursday.
Solar water heating and solar pool heating systems also showed up in 65,000 homes and businesses.
Seven states account for more than three-quarters of the market, led by California’s 27% share, New Jersey’s 14% slice and Florida’s 12% portion.
The upswing was credited to several factors including progress on utility-scale projects and increased activity in states such as New Mexico. Technology expenses have tumbled as the cost of residential photovoltaics dropped 8% in the past year while slipping 11% for commercial installations.
And after a dramatic fight toward the end of the year, the federal stimulus program known as the 1603 Treasury Grant was extended through 2011, prompting developers to install a record 359 megawatts in the fourth quarter alone.
-- Tiffany Hsu
Photo: Homeowner Lefteris Padavos by the solar panels he installed himself on his roof. Credit: Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times