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Industry trade group says market grew 67 percent in one year, but U.S. fell behind other countries, with only 5 percent of the world's installed photovoltaics in 2010.
The quarterly increase in U.S. installations of photovoltaic solar panels is due to non-residential and utility-scale projects. Residential installations drop a bit, according to a trade group report.
The American market for solar energy grew 67 percent to $6 billion last year, but the U.S. share of worldwide installations slipped due to booming growth across the pond.
Senate narrowly defeats a provision to extend an important investment tax credit for renewable energy investments.
Green news from around the Web: the financial markets impact on clean tech, "good" clean energy bubbles, solar grid parity, corporate named wind farms, and the battle over more coal plants in Kansas
The thin-film solar cells to be produced, which will feature 12.8 percent efficiency, were developed by PrimeStar Solar, which is now being acquired by GE, its lead investor.
Tens of billions of dollars for renewable energy and energy efficiency in direct investment and tax incentives are packed into a compromise bill.
Wind and solar get another lease on life with eight-year extension, while plug-in hybrids, geothermal, and small wind installations get supports.
Frustrated that the renewable-energy tax credit has apparently become a political football, the solar industry is quickly assembling a broader and firmer lobbying effort.
President signs massive government stimulus package, saying it's a start to a cleaner energy infrastructure. But analysts still see real hurdles to transforming the energy business.