Surprisingly, 2011 was a banner year for all those sparkling blue modules, according to a recently published report by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Green_Solar_HomeLast year seemed like a dark one for the solar industry: stiff competition from China drove American manufacturers to layoffs and even bankruptcy, while the low price of natural gas and the loss of a critical government subsidy weakened incentives for new solar developments. And then there was the long shadow of Solyndra, whose bankruptcy after receiving federal loans cast a pall over other green-energy endeavors.

And yet, by the numbers, 2011 was a banner year for all those sparkling blue modules, according to a report published on Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research. About 1,855 megawatts of new photovoltaic capacity was installed, more than double the 887 megawatts of the year before. The number of large-scale installations grew as well, to 28 from just 2 in 2009.

Globally, the United States represents only 7 percent of all photovoltaic capacity, the report found, but that’s up from 5 percent in 2010.

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Source: Diane Cardwell | The New York Times