In case you haven’t been paying attention, this has been a very exciting and very difficult year for the U.S. solar industry.
- We’ve had bankruptcies at Solyndra, Evergreen, and Spectrawatt. We’ve had plant closures at Solon, Solarworld, and UniSolar. The impacts of the Trade Petition from CASM could be profound. The 1603 tax grant program is at risk.
- Market impacts of an import duty: China modules make up about 30 percent to 40 percent market share in both residential and utility markets. In 2011, three of the top four suppliers are from China (Suntech, Yingli, and Trina).
- Total U.S. market will be about 1.7 gigawatts in 2011.
- The U.S. market share historically has been 5 percent to 7 percent of the world PV market, but in 2011, that’s changing very quickly. The U.S. market is going to double in 2011 versus global market growth of 15 percent to 20 percent.
- Third-quarter solar installations in the U.S. will be more than 450 megawatts — a record. The growth is primarily in the utility market, with more than 200 megawatts connected.
2012 solar installations in the U.S. could vary widely depending on module pricing, the availability of tax equity and the fate of the 1603 tax grant, but most important are the dynamics at the state level. Kann sees pending legislation in New York as having the potential to make the state a solar powerhouse on the level of the mighty New Jersey.