After what was a trying year in economies all over the world, the Solar Energy Industries Association has released its 2009 US Solar Industry Year in Review report finding that the US solar industry posted strong numbers and showed significant growth. Overall, the United States ranked 4th in new solar electric capacity worldwide with industry growth totaling nearly $4 billion – a 36% improvement.
The US solar electric capacity increased 37% due mainly to a constantly increasing demand for PV arrays in residential and utility-scale settings. Resulting from the increased demand and industry growth, came 17,000 new jobs from coast to coast making 46,000 US workers employees in the solar industry.
Solar water heating shipments increased 10% over 2008 figures, while solar pool heating growth declined 10%. The decrease is a reflection of the weakened US construction and housing industries. PV installations that are grid-tied grew 38% with PV module production climbing 7% from 2008 figures.
Residential grid-tied solar installations doubled from 78MW to 156MW, while non-residential grid-tied PV installations inclined 2% less than 2008. The total utility-scale channel reached 17GW while a collective US CSP capacity reached 432MW.
California was the leader in solar electric capacity with 220MW followed by New Jersey at 57MW and Florida at 36MW.