Secondary U.S. markets for solar power are continuing to grow, demonstrating overall health of the U.S. solar power market. According to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research, the total amount of photovoltaic panels installed on roofs in the U.S. was approximately 878 megawatt which was double the 435 megawatts installed in 2009 around the U.S. California solar, as usual, lead the nation in installed solar power with 258.9 megawatts, however, this represented only a 22% increase in installed solar power from 2009 (212.1 megawatts). Other U.S. states, however, are beginning to cut in to California’s overall market share.
First, New Jersey is the second largest solar state in the U.S. with 137 megawatts of installed solar power in 2010 which was almost a 140% increase over the 57.3 megawatts installed in 2009 and 517% increase over the 22.5 megawatts of installed New Jersey solar in 2008. In addition, New Jersey became the second state (California) to install over 100 MW in a single year. Other states saw dramatic increases in solar capacity as well. Arizona installed 54 megawatts of solar and Colorado installed 53.6 megawatts of solar each of which was double the prior years output (21.1 megawatts Arizona solar and 23.4 megawatts of Colorado solar). In addition eastern states like Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts are also seeing substantial growth in the solar markets despite the fact they are predominantly cold weather climates, mostly due to aggressive state solar rebate programs.
The diversification of U.S. market share is as pronounced as it is important. In 2004-2005, California comprised around 80% of the U.S. solar market, but by 2010 California’s market share fell to less than 30%. As the California Solar Initiative nears the tale end of its funding, the growth of secondary state markets becomes more crucial to overall U.S. market growth. According to the Executive Summary of SEIA’s 2010 review, “The fractured nature of the U.S. Pv market presents difficulties in achieving efficiency through economies of scale. However, the U.S. market benefits from a variety of incentives and market structures such that it is unlikely to experience a national boom/ bust cycle like those witnessed in European feed-in tariff markets. The more that secondary markets can prove their worth, the more stable the national market will become.”