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2012 Best Year for US Solar Power, Linked to Inexpensive Panels

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Last year was an all-time high for US solar power, placing highest globally for the first time.

In the last few years, the US market for photovoltaic panels has been around 5% to 7%, but 2012 saw an increase of 76% over 2011, bumping the US solar power market share over 10% globally.

Solar Energy Industries Association [SEIA] and GTM Research have been keeping tabs on the global supply and demand for solar installations, and it turns out that the EU, previously the main driver for the solar market, has been pulling back on government incentives and tariff agreements, slowing down their own solar expansion.

Chinese solar panel manufacturers, though, have been increasing production, but without the EU to soak up the supply, prices have fallen drastically in the last couple years. On the one hand, this has been good for US solar power, representing just 13% of the cost of a new installation, down from 32% in 2010.

On the other hand, the price drop, about 60% in the last year alone, has reduced profits, forcing some solar panel manufacturers out of the business.

Panel prices aren’t the only thing driving US solar power. Installation and management systems are also falling in price as more companies are getting into the business. This is good news for those considering a solar installation, and depending on which company you work with, you may not even have to pay upfront for the solar panels.

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