Report: U.S. solar energy jumped by 109 percent in 2011

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Washington, D.C., March 14, 2012 — The U.S. solar energy industry installed a record 1,855 MW of photovoltaic 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 1,000 MW in a single year.

GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association estimate the U.S. solar market's total value surpassed $8.4 billion in 2011.

This growth was spurred in part by declining installed solar PV system prices, which fell 20 percent last year and a shift toward larger systems. The December 31 expiration of the U.S. government's 1603 Treasury Program drove developers to commission projects before year's end.

Concentrating solar power projects are expected to come online later in 2012 with a surge in 2013. More than 1,000 MW of CSP are under construction, enough to power 200,000 homes.

As of year-end 2011, cumulative PV capacity in the U.S. reached nearly 4,000 MW and cumulative CSP capacity topped 500 MW. Together this represents enough solar capacity to power nearly a million households.

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