In spite of all the negative industry news 2012 saw a 76% growth in U.S. PV installations over 2011. The largest growth came from the solar utility market. The U.S. and Europe continue to lead the world in PV growth. This level of growth, however, is not expected to continue as utility procurement has slowed. Many of the larger utility municipalities have met or are expected to meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) obligations. Chinese imports have caused PV prices to fall dramatically due to generally inferior quality products offered at lower costs than domestic counterparts. Market over-saturation by U.S. PV producers, along with cheap Chinese imports, led many U.S. and European companies to declare bankruptcy and close operations.
Our next post will discuss how these stats may affect current and future values for solar cell and module manufacturing equipment.