2010 – Global PV Solar Energy Market Grew 130%, U.S. Market grows 67%

The U.S. PV industry continues to show strength throughout the deep recession with 2010 coming in with exceptionally strong numbers. A recent report from SEIA/GTM tilted, “Solar Market Insight: Year in Review 2010” shows that the U.S. PV solar energy market doubled in volume, growing 67% from $3.6 billion in 2009 to $6.0 billion in 2010.

As strong as the U.S. PV market growth was in 2010, the global markets grew at 130% with over 17 GW installed, mostly in EU countries. The report points out that U.S. market share on a global basis fell slightly to 5%, but since 2005 this market has consistently been 5% to 6.5% of the global total.


PV industry solar energy

Source: SEIA/Greentech Media

Compared to many countries where subsidies and location variables drive a certain segment more than others, activity in PV solar energy market segments in the U.S. is spread out evenly which leads to market growth stability. Utility, Residential and Commercial (non-residential) segments account for approximately 1/3 each broadly speaking. As we have seen in Germany, Italy and France, countries with large solar energy subsidy programs tend to have emphasis on particular market segments and have provisions which can overheat installation activity leading to boom and bust cycles and sometimes a complete market collapse.

PV industry Solar Energy

Source: SEIA/Greentech Media

Combined with steady federal and state subsidies, strong incoming solar radiation, large number of roofs and available land, rising cost of fossil fuel generation and strong electricity demand, most industry observers believe the U.S. solar energy market will double again in 2011.

When viewing the rising cost of coal and natural gas prices as a result of increasing economic activity combined with growing cooperation on Capitol Hill regarding energy policy and rapidly decreasing PV system cost, this author believes that 2011 and 2012 will see a U.S. PV market that may well triple in volume. More on this prediction in a future post.

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