US Solar Demand is booming despite the fact that solar installation costs are coming down at a much slower rate compared to the solar panel price decline. While solar panel prices have gone down by almost 50% y/y, the price that a homeowner in the US pays for a complete solar system has gone down by almost 7% y/y while that for a utility scale system has gone down by ~25%. This shows that US Solar Installers are benefiting the most from the decline in solar panel prices. Note valuation of the biggest US solar system integrators and financiers like Solar City is rising and its IPO is hotly anticipated. Compare this to the bankruptcy level valuation of the solar panel companies like Suntech, LDK and others.
Demand in 2011 was around 2 GW which was almost 100% greater than 2010 and it is expected to jump by another 50% to 3 GW according to mainstream analysts. However I think it will be closer to 100% growth as competition increases and solar installation starts reflecting the solar panel price crash. Utility scale systems showed a much sharper price decrease showing the difference in bargaining power between the small home system owners and the financiers of large multi MW utility scale systems.
While the US government has imposed almost 35% duty on the import of Chinese solar panels, the price increase would be to a much lesser degree given the workarounds worked out by the big Chinese solar panel producers like JA Solar, Yingli and others.