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2011 Was A Good Year For Solar Installations | Solar Energy USA Blog Archive

2011 Was A Good Year For Solar Installations

Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 2:38 pm by Solar Energy USA

2011 was a good year for solar installations, both residential and commercial, because of declining costs, increasing installations, and improving solar technologies. Data from the first three quarters all show impressive figures and expectations are high for the final quarter.


1. The solar industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in our economy

Lead by local, state, and federal incentives like the 1603 Treasury Grant, the solar industry grew at a record 140% growth in Q3 2011. More solar was installed in Q3 2011 than all of 2009, and Q4 2011 is expected to show even more impressive growth. According to SEIA, as of November 2011, the 1603 Treasury Program awarded grants for more than 22,000 solar projects totaling $1.5 billion and driving over $3.5 billion in private sector investment in the solar industry across 47 states. Since enactment, the program has leveraged more than $22.8 billion in private sector investment for a wide range of energy technologies in all 50 states.


2. The solar industry is adding jobs at a rapid pace

There are now more than 100,000 individuals working in the solar industry, more than twice as many from 2009. More people are employed by companies tied to solar installations than people employed by the steel industry. This comes as big news at a time of unprecedented unemployment. There are more than 5,000 solar companies covering all 50 states in America (including Solar Energy USA offices in 11 states). According to the National Solar Jobs Consensus 2011 issued by The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit focused on education, research, and market transformation of the solar industry, solar industry employers expect to increase their workforce by 24% in the next year, creating 24,000 new jobs.


3. A solar installation is now more affordable than ever

The average pre-incentive cost of going solar decreased 17% in 2010 alone, the most significant annual reduction since solar cost data has been tracked. Costs declined another 11% in the first half of 2011. At Solar Energy USA, we lowered our cost per watt 4 different times this year. We now offer solar installations for businesses and homeowners at our lowest cost ever!


4. Solar is an international business lead by the U.S.

The U.S. was a net exporter of solar products in 2010 by $2 billion dollars. Global solar trade has benefited the United States through demand for domestically made solar products by creating jobs. And competition helped fuel a battle for lower costs which spurred increased demand for solar installations in 2011. According to another SEIA report, $0.75 of every $1 dollar created by U.S. solar installations went directly to the U.S. economy.

5. Solar technologies are improving

2011 brought some great improvements with regard to solar technology. Enphase Energy introduced us to the M215 microinverter which supports up to a 250 watt solar panel, another advancement we saw develop this year. Our customers can monitor the power their solar installation produces by logging online via personal computer or by using a smartphone to track the system. Auto manufacturers Fisker Automotive, Nissan, and Toyota all introduced cars with solar panels integrated into the bodies of their cars. In October of 2011 we saw one of our local Georgia solar installations using 230 watt panels with M215 microinverters producing an average of 235 watts every hour.

solar-installation-system-monitoring-with-enphase-m215-smartphoneThank you to all of the special Solar Energy USA customers and solar enthusiasts that helped make 2011 a great year for solar installations. We look forward to another great solar year in 2012!