It’s Official: EIA Says 2010 Good Year For PV

In the fast-paced world of renewable energy, 2010 seems like a long time ago. But this is how long it takes to get definitive government data confirming what the solar industry has been saying for the past year: despite a sluggish U.S. economy, the photovoltaic (PV) industry showed strong growth in 2010

The Energy Information Administration (EIA), the authority on U.S. energy industry data, has released its annual Solar Photovoltaic Cell/Module Shipments Report for 2010. The report shows that total shipments of PV modules doubled, compared to 2009—driven largely by the falling prices of PV cells and modules, and government incentives at the federal, state and local levels.

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The average price of PV cells fell by almost 11 percent to $1.13 per watt, and the average price of PV modules fell nearly 30 percent, to $1.96 per watt. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Tracking the Sun Report, this translated to a 17 percent decrease in the installed cost of residential PV systems to $6.90 per watt. More than half (54 percent) of domestic shipments went to California, and nearly 70 percent of U.S. PV module shipments went to five states: California, New Jersey, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).