USA Solar Industry Value Grew 67% In 2010

Recent figures from the USA’s leading solar trade group, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), show that in 2010, solar energy was an economic powerhouse in a somewhat depressed American marketplace.
According to the “US Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2010” report, released by the SEIA and GTM Research, solar power is America’s fastest growing energy sector stock, growing in total market value by 67 percent from $3.6 billion in 2009 to $6.0 billion in 2010. With the overall US GDP growth rate at a sluggish three percent, it’s impressive feat.
Almost 900 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy were installed in 2010 alone, along with 78 MW of concentrated solar power (CSP), enough to power 200,000 homes. More than 65,000 homes and businesses made the switch to solar power to heat water in their homes and swimming pools. 
The report acknowledges the importance the US Treasury Section 1603 – which provides a 30 percent tax rebate for investment in renewable energy installations – has had on the industry’s rapid growth. 
"The section 1603 Treasury program helped fourth-quarter installations surge to a record 359 MW and was critical in allowing the solar industry to employ more than 93,000 Americans in 2010,” the report states.
Due to expire last year, the SEIA successfully lobbied for a continuation of the Treasury section 1603 program. This governmental assistance, along with declining costs of solar technology, contributed to solar energy’s bumper year in the USA.
"This report shows that solar energy is now one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, creating new opportunities for both large and small businesses. Every day, Americans across the country are going to work at well-paying, stable jobs at solar companies, from small installers all the way up to Fortune 500 companies," said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO.