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 February 15, 2012
U.S Solar Installations Rise 67% in Q4 2011 Due to Price Drops, Expiring Incentives

 U.S. Solar Projects Rise 67% in Quarter Amid Price Drop, SEIA Says

Installation of solar panels in the U.S. surged as much as 67 percent in the fourth quarter as developers raced to qualify for an expiring federal incentive program and panel prices fell 16 percent, a trade group said.

Developers installed 700 megawatts to 750 megawatts of rooftop and ground-mounted systems in the quarter, compared with 450 megawatts in the third quarter, according to preliminary estimates from the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association.

Installations this year may grow by 3,000 megawatts to 4,000 megawatts, up from about 1,800 megawatts in 2011, if a U.S. Treasury Department incentive known as the 1603 program is renewed, said Rhone Resch, the trade group's chief executive officer.

Last year "was an incredible year and 2012 could be even better if Congress extends the grant program," Resch said in an interview today.