US Missing Out On Its Share Of $1 Trillion In Total Global Solar Energy Revenue

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The US is missing out on its share of the $1 trillion dollars total cumulative global solar photovoltaic revenue predicted for 2012-2018 because of its policies and political atmosphere, according to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trust lobbying group.


The report notes that the US is falling behind other countries such as Germany, Italy, and China. And it calls upon President Obama and Congress to introduce new measures in order to not fall further behind in the growing renewable energy revolution.

The report concluded that: “the US needs a national clean energy standard to replace the current piecemeal state-by-state arrangements; energy R&D should be at least doubled from its current level; tax credits and incentives for clean energy should be renewed; and policy should be introduced to ‘level the playing field’ for renewables against the fossil fuel industry.”

The Pew report, titled, Innovate, Manufacture, Compete: A Clean Energy Action Plan, gives the prediction that “from 2012 to 2018 the cumulative revenue generated from solar photovoltaic worldwide will total US$1 trillion dollars, of an expected $1.9 trillion dollars from clean energy generation.” Annual global solar revenue is expected to rise from $113 billion dollars in 2012 to $183 billion dollars by 2018. And new annual installations are expected to rise from the 32 GW installed in 2012, to 86.3 GW in 2018.

Amongst all that global growth though, the US isn’t predicted to compare to that of our primary rivals in the field. “American photovoltaic installations have doubled in the last two years, but the additional capacity is still less than a third of that added by Germany or Italy, with China surpassing the US in solar for the first time, in 2011.”

Some other take away points from the report:

The US is one of only a handful of countries that still doesn’t have a national renewable energy generation target. The others include: Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Haiti, Eritrea, and Luxembourg….

The enormous health and environmental costs of fossil fuels and nuclear power are still not taken into account in the pricing of these forms of energy. If they were, renewables would already be much cheaper. The widespread use of fossil fuels is the primary driver behind modern climate change and all of its future effects, as well as significant health problems and growing health concerns. Traditional forms of energy production still in widespread use in poorer regions of the world (biomass and wood) also contribute to significant environmental and health problems, such as deforestation and many human diseases. Renewables could go a long way to improving the general health of the people in these regions, while also helping to preserve the little that’s left of their natural environment.

There are still only four fixed energy tax credits in the US: three of them are for the oil and gas industry, and one is for the nuclear industry. There are none for the renewable energy industry.

Source: PV Magazine
Image Credits: Solarfeld via Wikimedia Commons

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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