U.S. Solar Growing Despite Shaky Economy

Posted by Jeff Siegel - Friday, July 1st, 2011

Although the solar sector has been getting hammered over the past few months, the latest data on U.S. solar growth is very encouraging.

For the first quarter of 2011, the price of a solar power system declined by 15 percent, while new solar photovoltaic installations grew 66 percent.

From 2009 to 2010, the U.S. solar market (by revenue) grew 67 percent. Today, the American solar industry supports more than 100,000 jobs. That's more than U.S. steel production!

Looking at year-over-year manufacturing growth, U.S. solar has grown by 31 percent, while U.S. manufacturing overall has actually declined.

California remains the solar leader in the United States. Interestingly, California governor Jerry Brown recently announced that he is considering upping the ante on the state's already aggressive renewable energy portfolio standard.

As it stands, the Golden State is seeking to pull 33 percent of its power from renewables by 2020. The new standard, which is being studied now, would bump that up to 40 percent.

According to California's Public Utilities Commission, the state can do 40 percent by 2020 because it would be a function of reducing demand through energy efficiency and increasing the supply of renewables.

Hawaii also has a 40 percent standard in place. The Aloha State actually gets a sizable chunk of its power from diesel. With nothing but high oil prices from here on out, Hawaii has little choice but to transition its power infrastructure fast.

California and the rest of the country may not be as vulnerable as Hawaii. But rest assured, you will find no greater growth story than renewable energy.

In fact, thanks to a new energy plan in Japan, the global solar market could soon get a $286 billion shot of steroids. You can read more about that here.

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