The solar pool heating market grew in 2010 for the first time in four years, according to recently released figures from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research, which analyzes market trends.

More than 11,500 square feet of solar installations were recorded last year, marking a 7 percent increase over the 10,776 square feet installed in 2009, the groups found.

Meantime, the average installation price of solar pool systems fell by nearly 25 percent between the second and third quarters of 2010, according to the report. The drop was traced to the high number of low-priced and smaller-square-footage installations in Florida, the country’s largest solar market.

Overall, the findings indicate the nation’s solar pool heating market has likely turned a corner. And continued growth is forecast.

“While residential installations are up slightly, incentive programs and rebates for large commercial systems have spurred massive growth in that market,” the research concluded. “Should these incentives continue at their current level, with more states adding similar programs, it can be expected that the market will continue to grow through 2015. Residential applications will also continue to grow, but at a slower pace.”