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Looking Back on Solar in 2012

Looking back on the solar in 2012, U.S. manufacturers have struggled to stay afloat amidst the solar trade issues with China, but it wasn’t as bad for the rest of the industry.  Despite the attempt to promote U.S. manufacturing of PV by cracking down on Chinese dumping of solar products below fair market value, Chinese manufacturers found loopholes in the legislation to circumnavigate the tariffs imposed on US imports.  It’s tariffs were put on the cells manufactured in China. Solar cells are manufactured outside of the country, and then assembled into solar panels in China before shipping to the U.S.  This has created all sorts of turmoil for U.S. manufactures and we’re seeing some players start to slip away.    Yet the ongoing drop of prices meant that more people were able to go solar.  Overall, 2012 has been a record year for photovoltaic installations. The third quarter of 2012 saw the installation of 684 megawatts of solar- a 44% growth over last year’s Q3, making it the third largest on record for the United States PV industry.  For more information from SEIA, check this out: U.S. Solar Market Insight: Third Quarter 2012. From the beginning of 2010 to now, the cost of residential solar installations fell 21.8% to around $5.46 per watt, according to GTM Research. The same plummeting prices that have hurt U.S. manufacturers have meant more work for U.S. retailers, third-party financing, inverter manufacturers, and installers. This year, we also witnessed two solar companies go public.  In late March of this year, Enphase Energy went public.  This past month, Elon Musk’s SolarCity also announced the pricing for their initial public offering.   Moving forward into 2013, is optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead for customers and the industry at large.  Solar panel prices are low, competition is high, customers are buying, and the technology continues to improve.  Needless to say, it’s an exciting time to be in the solar business.  Thanks for being a part of our story! What do you think 2013 has in store for solar?...

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