Solar Power Enters Maturity

The year 2010 was a significant shift in the US Solar market.  A new report by the US. Solar Market Insight™ was a collaboration between the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA®) and GTM Research.  This report looks at the trends of the United States industry including photovoltaic (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP) solar hot water and space heating (SWH) and solar pool heating (SPH) markets using surveys of installers, manufacturers, utilities and state agencies.


Three themes dominated the solar market for 2010. 

  1. The U.S. solar market doubled to 878 megawatts of PV in 2010 and 78 megawatts of CSP. The industry’s total market value grew a whopping 67 percent from $3.6 billion in 2009 to $6.0 billion in 2010.
  2. The year 2010 saw 242 megawatts of utility-scale projects come on-line and that trend is projected to grow.
  3. The American solar story used to be dominated by California, but now California is just 30 percent of the U.S. market, with 16 states installing at least 10 megawatts each in 2010. Just as Germany is no longer the "savior state" for global PV, California is now just one of many U.S. PV markets.

The market's expansion was driven by the federal section 1603 Treasury program, completion of large utility scale projects, expansion of new state markets and declining technology costs. The section 1603 Treasury program helped fourth-quarter installations surge to a record 359 megawatts and was critical in allowing the solar industry to employ more than 93,000 Americans in 2010.  

The executive summary is available for download here. The full report is available here and here