Solar technology has seen dramatic growth in recent years and is starting to become an important part of the American energy landscape. The persistence that inventors have shown over the last few decades is understandable as the sun presents an almost-inexhaustible energy source and properly harnessing its power represents one of the greatest financial and environmental opportunities imaginable.  This quest for alternative energy sources has lead to incredible growth in the number of solar panel importers. According to Import Genius data, it has grown from 18 shipments totaling 51,000 lbs in 2006 to 291 transactions representing more than 31 million lbs in 2011, a 600% increase in tonnage over a six year span. This rapid growth can be attributed to cheap solar panel imports from China, as one of the biggest barriers to the widespread use of solar has always been the cost the technology.

In fact, a quick glance at the numbers shows just how much the industry has changed. Less than a quarter of those 18 solar panel imports from 2006 originated from China, while more than half are from the Mainland as of 2011. There are other players involved in the solar panel import market as well with the EU and South Korea continuing to deliver significant numbers of solar panels to the U.S.  In addition to the availability of more cost-effective solutions, solar technology has begun taking off simply because there is more policy in place supporting its use. For nearly two decades the U.S. has made an attempt to grow the solar industry through tax breaks, subsidized research programs, and governmental promotion, and its growing use shows that those investments are beginning to pay off.  The bottom line is that the old jokes about solar are starting to grow stale, as costs are finally starting to align themselves into a place where the decision-makers of the U.S. economy can justify their expense. The widespread influence and ubiquity of these products is reflected inside the reports Import Genius can offer, allowing companies access to this growing opportunity.