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Another record year for U.S. solar energy industry

U.S. solar energy industry is currently the nation’s fastest growing industry so it’s really no surprise that U.S. solar power sector is well on track for another record year. In fact, according to the latest report coming from IHS iSuppli, U.S. total photovoltaic (PV) capacity will achieve an increase of 166% compared to last year, and should reach 2.4GW by the end of this year. In 2010 total U.S. photovoltaic installations were just over 900MW and the main reason for this massive growth in PV capacity this year was the implementation of many utility-scale solar power projects. There have been around 49,000 PV installations in 2011 compared to around 39,000 in 2010. The report also projects that 1.4GW will be in the form of ground-mounted installations, commercial installations should account for 710MW, and residential installations for 270MW. Not surprisingly, California leads the nation in new PV installations by installing 967MW in 2011, followed by Arizona at 243MW and New Mexico at 139MW. The list of top ten U.S. states in PV installation also includes New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. This report also predicts that the state of New York will likely experience the fastest renewable energy growth while Colorado has the best potential for renewable energy expansion. The U.S. solar energy industry should continue its rapid growth in years to come. It is expected that U.S. PV capacity will reach an estimated total of 3.1GW next year, and 5.5GW by 2015. In order to maintain its rapid growth U.S. solar energy sector will need continuous support from the U.S. Department of Energy in the form of loan guarantees in order to attract new investors by securing a lower capital costs for new large-scale solar power projects.

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