Clean Power solar power growth projections

Published on October 20th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Texas: Solar Energy Hitting State in 1 Month = All Energy Texas Oil & Gas Industry Has EVER Produced

October 20th, 2011 by  

solar power growth projections

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:

  1. 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.”
  2. The U.S. solar industry includes over 5,000 companies (mostly small businesses).
  3. Solar PV installations have grown 69% over the last year (40 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole).
  4. The solar industry is creating jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy.
  5. The U.S. solar energy industry is a net exporter, by $2 billion (and is even a net exporter to China).
  6. 9 out of 10 Americans feel we should develop and use more solar power.
  7. The U.S. solar industry is creating jobs in every state and is the fastest growing industry in the country.
  8. “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.”
  9. “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.”
  10. “Since last year we opened 30 new solar factories and now have over 400 manufacturing plants supporting the solar industry in the United States.”
  11. “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.”
  12. “[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).

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Solar, Wave, Wind, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal, all clean, radiation free, all domestic, no tax by the “Parasite Nations” on it, All, perpetual, renewable, eternal! No wells to go dry, no reactors to re-fuel! Way to go! now get rid of the Cheap oil Era, American dream lifestyle and adapt to the new reality!

    • Anonymous

      Works for me.

      But we really don’t have to ask people to give up their “American dream lifestyle”.

      All they need to do is to adopt more efficient ways of doing what they are now doing and support renewable energy.

      Obviously we’d get to where we need to get quicker if people significantly cut back, but that would turn most people away from the effort to get fossil fuels out of our lives.

      We can make all the electricity we want using renewable technology. And make it cheaper than it now is made. (Assuming honest accounting.)

      We can drive as much as we drive now using renewable energy. And do that driving for a small fraction of the cost per mile of what we now spend.
      The way we win the renewable/fossil fuel war is to make it clear to people that they won’t need to suffer and will actually have more money in their pockets once we make the move away from fossil fuels.

  • Ed

    In reading the comments here it occurs to me that the issue of solar vs coal and oil is something that should not be based on ones political/social bent (conservative/progressive/libertarian/etc) bent. Even if one completely dismissed the “climate change” issue/debate (which we do at our peril) it should still be obvious that increasing dependence on a decreasing resource is simply stupid. When it’s clear that the Sun gives us all the energy we will EVER need, I don’t see what the problem is. Sun up fossil carbon down. It’s a true NO BRAINER. We have to resources now so lets get behind this necessary change and give our kids and grand-kids a chance to live in a cleaner healthier world. Can the left and right not both get behind such an idea????

    • Anonymous

      The Left has long been behind renewable energy for many reasons.

      Some of us suspect that the Right has opposed renewable energy mostly because the Left has been for it. “The friend of my enemy is also my enemy.”

      That, and the money that the fossil fuel industry pours into right-side organizations. Fossil fuel money not only supports the Tea Party, it funds a number of right wing think tanks and climate change deniers. Those think tanks are one of the places worn out Republican officials go to pull their welfare checks.

      That money has held back people on the right from supporting renewable energy, but they are coming around. Wind is now receiving major support from state and local Republican officials. Wind farms put money in local pockets, pay good local taxes and create good local jobs.

      (Republicans, as the fossil fuel industry knows, can be bought. ;o)

      Additionally a majority of Republicans now support solar energy.

      Now we’ve got to wait for the Republican Congress members to get the message. Hopefully the worst of them will get replaced next November.

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  • RedStateRancher

    As a conservative, I’m doubtful of the potential of solar. But these are pretty impressive statistics. It’s clear that solar is part of our energy mix in the future, and is part of it today as well if 5,000 companies are employing 100,000 Americans. Love to use the sunshine hitting the USA rather than oil in Saudi Arabia or gas in Canadian shale. This is opening my mind to solar ….

    • Anonymous

      Being a conservative, are you aware that we spend a tremendous amount of tax and health insurance premium money to support the burning of coal? It’s really wasteful how much money we spend in addition to what we pay at the meter. Estimates are that coal produced electricity costs at least $0.18kWh.

      Solar, in sunny locations, is already down to $0.15/kWh and will continue to drop in price.

      Solar produces power during the hours in which utility companies often pay far, far more for power from gas peaker plants. Having solar available means that utility companies cut their costs and our price at the meter can drop.

      Solar is already a conservative’s dream. It’s producing cheaper power, saving us both personal and government money. And it’s going to get even better, a lot better.

      And solar is creating a lot of good jobs in America. More people off the dole, making a good living to support their families, supporting local businesses, and paying taxes. It’s the sort of stuff we need to get our country rolling once more.

      (More people working means more people buying your steaks. ;o)

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, truthfully, it’s a shame it became such a partisan issue at the higher levels of politics. One of the wonderful things about solar is that it gives individuals and small communities more power and control, more self-sufficiency.

      And other is clearly that it creates American jobs (more than jobs over in Asia).

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