“2009 marked a year of transformation for the U.S. solar market,” said Craig Stevens, president of Solarbuzz. “Changes in the roles of utility companies, new market entrants, lower cost PV modules from Asia and new direct-to-market approaches became more prevalent. As a result, solar companies doing business in the States will need to adapt quickly to these challenges while also being responsive to frequent adjustments in the fragmented incentive and regulatory environment.”
California is still driving the solar power market in the U.S., accounting for 53% of on-grid installations in 2009 and maintaining this position into 2010. While SunPower remained leader for PV installed, Chevron Energy and SPG Solar moved up to the number position in California in 2009. Installers REC Solar, SolarCity and Real Goods Solar led the residential field.
The large number of state policy initiatives has created a fragmented regulations and incentive environment. However, states are doing their job of stimulating local markets. The dispersed funding sources mean the U.S. market does not does not carry the same level of risk compared to countries driven by a single national policy. Federal incentives are therefore due to play a much larger role in stimulating demand into 2012. Solarbuzz forecasts the market will grow to between 4.5-5.5GW depending on this given scenario. This is an average annual growth rate of 30% per annum.
The U.S. order book for photovoltaic systems currently stands at 12GW.