US solar PV market doubles in size, overtaking Europe as third in world

Clare Saxon Ghauri
29 August 2012

NEW YORK CITY: The solar photovoltaic (PV) market in the United States has more than doubled in size and is set to push Europe off its top spot as third largest market in the world.

The surge in US PV growth took place in the first half of 2012, where installations grew by over 120% to hit 1.7 gigawatts. This compares to the 750 megawatts that were installed this time last year.

Progress is expected to continue to the end of the year when it is estimated the US will reach 4.3 gigawatts, overtaking Europe to secure the title of third largest PV market in the world, behind China and Japan.

The leading figures from the US contributed to a record-breaking global installation total of over 13 gigawatts in the first half of 2012.

The report, which came from IMS Research, found that other than China, the USA would be the largest single contributor to global PV growth in 2012 and would account for 40% of new capacity growth.

Ash Sharma, PV Research Director, IMS Research stated: "IMS Research remains optimistic about the potential for the US PV market, and we predict it will grow to at least 3.5GW in 2012 and become the world's third largest PV market. The longer-term outlook for this market is less certain, although the speed at which it is developing so far in 2012 provides some encouragement."

Amy Davidsen, Executive Director US, The Climate Group comments on the US’s success: "Solar power has already reached cost-competitiveness with traditional sources in some parts of the world, and as costs continue to fall, we expect to see solar become a truly competitive option in many more markets. It's getting there in the US, and according to McKinsey estimates, some states may get half of their total power from solar as soon as 2020."

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