This is a fact the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Rhone Resch, said at the 2011 Solar Power International conference this year. In Rhone’s own words:
Texas has the potential to be a MASSIVE solar market. To put it into perspective, the sunshine that falls on Texas each month has more energy than all of the oil that has ever been pumped out of this state. If you think oil made Texas great, just wait till you see what they do with solar….
But today, smaller, less sunny states are currently ahead of Texas. There’s no reason why New Jersey should have nearly 10 times more solar installed than Texas. That’s like the Princeton Tigers football team coming down to Texas and putting a whooping on the Longhorns. That’s just wrong.
Rhone then went on to highlight how New Jersey and California have grown their solar markets so fast, as well as a handful of specific solar projects and programs.
In addition, Rhone had numerous national solar energy stats worth sharing.
While we have covered solar power’s potential, its recent growth, and its projected growth a few times lately already, and have covered almost all of the stats below at one time or another, here’s a quick and concise summary of the stats and points Rhone highlighted this week:
- “Rush Limbaugh says that the solar industry doesn’t even exist. So I would to take this opportunity to set him straight: The Solar Foundation’s jobs census released just today shows that we employ more than 100,000 Americans. And no industry in the country is growing faster than solar.”
- The U.S. solar industry includes over 5,000 companies (mostly small businesses).
- Solar PV installations have grown 69% over the last year (40 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole).
- The solar industry is creating jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy.
- The U.S. solar energy industry is a net exporter, by $2 billion (and is even a net exporter to China).
- 9 out of 10 Americans feel we should develop and use more solar power.
- The U.S. solar industry is creating jobs in every state and is the fastest growing industry in the country.
- “Earlier this year, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published a study that confirmed what we knew all along: adding solar to your home increases its value by thousands of dollars.”
- “The utility-scale solar market grew by 171 percent in the last year and we expect nearly 800 megawatts of utility solar to come online this year. We’ve commenced construction on over 600 megawatts of new CSP plants and nearly 3,000 megawatts of utility-scale PV projects. And for those of you who think utility-scale solar is only for the Southwest, you’ll be surprised to know that the second largest state for utility solar in the second quarter was the second smallest state in the country – Delaware.”
- “Since last year we opened 30 new solar factories and now have over 400 manufacturing plants supporting the solar industry in the United States.”
- “The 1603 Treasury Program, along with the underlying solar investment tax credit, is hands-down one of the most successful policies ever enacted to deploy renewable energy. Its return on investment to the taxpayer is the best of any policy in place today. It has allowed the development of more than 19 thousand solar projects in 47 states and the District of Columbia and supported over 4.4 billion dollars in economic investment.”
- “[A]n extension of the 1603 program even for just one year will support 37,000 additional jobs and deploy 2,000 additional megawatts of solar capacity. Let me repeat that – 37,000 new jobs next year.”
Impressive stats. Impressive industry. Impressive potential (if we implement the right policies, we will easily live in a solar-powered country).
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on your favorite social network, go to: zacharyshahan.com