12 Sep 2008
Rapid growth is being spurred by a combination of financial incentives and consumer demand.
Solar markets are booming in the United States due to rising energy prices, strong consumer demand, and financial incentives available from both the federal government and many states and utilities.
Over 80,000 installations were completed in 2007, but the majority of market share for each solar technology is concentrated in a few states.
According to US Solar Market Trends 2007, published by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, the capacity of photovoltaic (PV) installations completed in 2007 grew by 48% compared with 2006.
California remains the dominant market, although Nevada and Colorado were the locations for the two largest US installations, both completed during 2007.
Solar hot water installations (low-temperature thermal) have boomed since the 2006 increase in the federal investment tax credit. In the continental 48 states, installations have quadrupled since 2005. Hawaii continues to be the largest market for solar hot water.
For concentrating solar electricity (high-temperature thermal), the 64 MW Nevada Solar One solar thermal electric plant went on-line June 2007. Other than a smaller 1 MW plant built in Arizona in 2006, this was the first new U.S. solar thermal electric plant constructed in over 15 years.
Over the long-term, the prospect for solar markets is bright. However, the fate of the federal investment tax credits, currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2008, will have a strong influence on the U.S. solar markets in 2009.