Moore's law continues to drive solar costs down and installations up. According to SEIA, U.S. Market Installs 3,300 Megawatts in 2012; Driven by Record Fourth Quarter,
2012 was a historic year for the U.S. solar industry. There were 3,313 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed throughout the year, which represents 76% growth over 2011's record deployment totals. The fourth quarter of 2012 was also the largest quarter on record as 1,300 MW came online, driven in part by unprecedented installation levels in the residential and utility markets. SEIA and GTM Research forecast that the market will continue to grow at a steady clip with over 4,200 MW of PV and 940 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) expected to come online in 2013. (All data from SEIA/GTM Research “U.S. Solar Market Insight 2012 Year-In-Review” unless otherwise noted.)
And those new installations are driven by solar PV prices continually falling in Moore's Law for solar:
Falling Costs Make Solar More Affordable Than Ever
- The average cost of a completed PV system dropped by 27 percent over the past year.
- The average price of a solar panel has declined by 60 percent since the beginning of 2011.
- While these price drops are beneficial for solar consumers, the sharp fall in prices, due in part by a global oversupply, has put a serious strain on solar manufacturers worldwide.
So we'll see a shakeout in numbers of solar companies, as has already started to happen with STP in China going bankrupt. This is normal in a new industry. There used to be dozens of car companies, too, but http://www.historyshots.com/automobiles/"> Olds, Buick, Cadillac, Rainier, Welch, Elmore, Oakland, Cartercar, Chrvrolet, Scripps-Both, and many more merged into General Motors and similarly a few other big car companies emerged from the pack. The same thing will happen with solar companies. The shakeout will take years, as usual, and meanwhile solar sales will continue to go up, just like automobile sales did.
And if solar continues to be deployed at a compound growth rate like we've seen for the past decade or more? solar and wind win over all other power sources in about a decade. Georgia can lag behind the pack and lose lots of benefits, or it can get on with solar and lead the country in solar power, for jobs, profit, and energy independence, and for clean air and water.