On April 21, 2008, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), in conjunction with the Prometheus Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts, released its 2007 solar industry review. This report is free and available to the public. This report highlights the tremendous growth in the U.S. residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar photovoltaic market during 2007. The report also makes a strong plea for Congress to extend the federal investment tax credit which has helped fuel this growth, but is set to expire on December 31, 2008.
Key points: the U.S. solar market trails that of Germany, Japan, and Spain; California has the most grid-connected solar PV capacity (87 MW), followed by New Jersey, Nevada, and Colorado each with less than 17 MW; Hawaii has the most solar thermal (water heating) capacity, followed by Florida and California; big box stores, such as WalMart, BestBuy and others, lead commercial deployments; the utility-scale sector is the fastest growing PV market and currently represents about 15 percent of the total U.S. market; and, the cost of a utility-scale concentrated solar power (CSP) plant is about 8 cents/kWh, making it competitive with a new natural gas combined-cycle plant.