In Q3 2011 U.S solar developers set a new quarterly record bringing online more than 449 MW in new solar electric capacity.
In fact, more solar capacity was installed in the third quarter of this year than in all of 2009, according to a new report released on Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. The report, dubbed The U.S. Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2011, includes analysis of the three main solar technologies, photovoltaic PV, concentrating solar power (CSP) and concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) technologies and according to the numbers PV technology drove the explosion of newly installed solar capacity.
Led by 200 MW of utility PV grid connected PV installations 140% over Q3 2010. This should come as little surprise based on the rapidly declining cost of PV which is resulting in the decline of support and development of other solar power technologies. For 2011 solar is booming through the third quarter of this year over 1,000 MW of solar capacity has been added to the U.S. and the report predicts that Q4 could be even larger than Q3. However, the study, which attributes much of the growth to the Department of Treasury’s 1603 program, warns that 2012 and 2013 could be very different.
Set to expire on Dec. 31 the 1603 program provides cash grants for up to 30 percent of the cost of renewable energy project. Commenting on the report findings Shayle Kann, Managing Director of the solar practice at GTM Research said one of the “main questions on the mind of everyone in the market is what would be the impact of the 1603 Treasury Program’s expiration”. However, the study seems to make it clear that without the support of the program the solar industry could suffer a major decline in growth.
SEIA President Rhone Resch asserted that “solar industry needs a stable policy on which to make business decisions” and called for Congress to extend the program saying, “To keep the industry growing and creating jobs in the U.S. we need Congress to extend the 1603 program.”
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