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U.S. breaks records with $1.9B solar export surplus in 2010

New report shows growth in U.S. solar component exports, highlighting the country’s key role in the solar energy supply chain.

A report on solar energy trade released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research found that the United States had net exports of solar energy components worth $1.9 billion in 2010. According to the report, 2010 was a record year, with continued growth in U.S. solar energy productions. The results emphasize the United States’ important place in the worldwide solar production chain.


The report, titled U.S. Solar Energy Trade Assessment 2011, calculated U.S. trade in solar components and modules. U.S. firms exported $5.6 billion worth of product, including $2.5 billion in polysilicon raw materials. Over 99% of these exports were PV components, with the rest being solar heating and cooling system components.

Most U.S.-made parts went to Germany and China, while imports to the U.S. consisted mostly of PV modules, primarily assembled in China and Mexico. The assessment also noted that the U.S. was a net exporter of solar products to China by over $240 million.

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, pointed out the solar industry’s stellar performance compared to other flailing sectors in the U.S. “As the global solar industry continues to grow and evolve, the U.S. is seen more and more as a leading market – both in installations and in exports. Solar is a showcase industry of U.S. ingenuity,” he said.

Resch had a message for policymakers, too. “[To] maintain our competitive advantage, we need innovative, proactive solutions from policymakers to match the investments being provided overseas to grow robust solar supply chains. Doing so will result in new jobs and opportunities for communities that have seen their factories close up shop in recent years,” he said.


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Solar Industry Trade Flows 2010 Photo Credit: SEIA


Read the full report here.

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