A With their ability to transform energy efficiency and lower electric bills, the growth in popularity and usage of solar panels is a no-brainer. It doesn’t come as a big surprise then, that many states are capitalizing on this emerging trend. Regions in the U.S. that receive the most sun are especially embracing renewables. Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and California are leading the way in utilizing solar energy. According to a report compiled by a Colorado news outlet, “U.S. capacity to generate solar energy has tripled since 2010 and increased tenfold since 2007.”
In an effort to dig deeper into this topic, we delved into the Import Genius database detailing ocean freight shipping records. In tracking U.S. solar panel imports, they appear to be rebounding in 2013 compared to a dropoff in the number of imports received over the last several years.
We saw the most notable numbers for solar panel imports when they peaked in 2010, with nearly 1,600 shipments recorded. In the years prior, solar panel imports were growing annually. While 2007 saw about 850 shipments, over 1,100 were received in 2008. About 1,300 were recorded in 2009.
Numbers started to slow as imports decreased after 2010. About 870 shipments reached the U.S. in 2011 while 1,030 came in 2012. Looking at imports received so far in 2013, numbers are exceeding previous years for the same time period and also seem to be in line with the high numbers recorded 3 years ago. In 2010, 927 shipments were received from January through July. This year, the data shows 936 results. Strong numbers throughout the first two quarters in 2013 could mean this will be a year for the record books when it comes to solar panel imports.
The data indicates the U.S. primarily gets their solar panels from China. 62% of solar panels received in the states in 2010 were from China, while 44% were from China in 2011. Last year China exported 64% of solar panels to the U.S. China’s solar panel exports are also dominant thus far in 2013, as 48% of shipments have come from there. Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea are also top exporting countries of solar panels.