Solar installations double for second consecutive year
Many people predicted the death of the solar industry after the high-profile collapse of solar manufacturer Solyndra last year. But while some were waiting for the end to come , the U.S. doubled the number of solar power installations it added in 2011.
A new report for the Solar Energy Industries Association found that the U.S. added 1,855 megawatts of solar capacity over the course of the year, a 109 percent increase from 2010. This marks the second year in a row that the country has doubled its solar installations, and eight different states all added more than 50 megawatts, though California still dominates the field.
More importantly, according to the SEIA, for the first time the U.S. saw a substantial number of large-scale solar power installations, as more utility companies committed to renewable electricity. There were 28 different projects that were at least 10 megawatts in size.
The newest additions bring the country's total solar capacity up to 3,954 megawatts, still less than 1 percent of U.S. production capacity, but a major portion of the global market. In 2011, the U.S. accounted for 7 percent of all solar installations worldwide.