U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Advanced Manufacturing Office
EIA: U.S. Solar Power Manufacturing Declined in 2003
September 29, 2004
Despite a growing U.S. market for photovoltaic solar power, a drop in
exports caused photovoltaic manufacturing in the United States to
decline in 2003. According to a recent report from DOE's Energy
Information Administration (EIA), the bankruptcy of AstroPower in 2003
contributed to the first decline in the U.S. production of solar cells
and modules since the EIA began keeping track in 1986. The 2.5 percent
decline from the previous year was the result of a 9 percent drop in
exports, which outweighed a 7 percent increase in domestic shipments.
Meanwhile, ABI Research reports that Japan has been leading the
photovoltaic industry for years, but now the center of activity is
shifting to the West—not to the United States, but to Germany,
where strong subsidies are in place. See the EIA report, "Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Manufacturing Activities 2003," and see the ABI Research press release.
Even the growing U.S. market sometimes fails to yield new production
capacity within the United States: Japan's Kyocera Solar, Inc. plans
to double its photovoltaic manufacturing output within the next year,
and will open a new production plant on October 1st to serve the North
American market. The company's new module assembly plant is meant to
focus on the California market, but is located in Tijuana, Mexico.
See the Kyocera press release.