Expected Solar Market Growth
Conservative estimates for the growth of the solar market see it doubling every five years. These are conservative estimates, mind you; the more optimistic predictions see exponential growth on a scale similar to the automobile industry growth between 1930 and 1980. I propose cautious optimism as there was once the same prediction made for the nuclear power industry before building costs and slow erection times stopped the industry in its tracks. Then the Three Mile Island catastrophe turned the public against nuclear energy and it never fully recovered.
Still, the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics has cited this industry for high potential growth and the U.S. Department of Energy has suggested that photovoltaic energy will rise from a capacity of 60,000 Mw to 300,000 Mw in the next ten years. This means installations will have to grow at an average rate of 12% per year (but the actually growth is expected to follow a parabolic path). The expected growth in 2011 alone is 26%.
Off-grid solar growth doesn’t factor into these calculations because most off-grid applications are done by do-it-yourselfers. This information is using the specific target population of residential and commercial entities that will be looking to supplement their traditional energy use with solar systems to reduce monthly energy costs.
This is fantastic news for the solar industry; as the entire U.S. economy has been mired by the housing market crash, this industry is still growing. Any industry that can grow during a downturn in the economy should show even greater growth as the economy turns around. As long as costs continue to plummet, interest in solar systems will continue to rise. This will lead to expanded need for production and installation specialists.