Solar Manufacturing & Installation Up Green Technology Leading Economy

The San Francisco Chronicle published an excellent article demonstrating the importance of California’s focus on solar, wind and clean energy technology. The future of economic growth is continuing down the path of renewable energy. Solar energy costs are coming down as production increases. Look what happened to computers over the last 20 years.

On the converse, fossil fuel energy costs will only go up, and soon the non-subsidized cross-over point will lead to massive exponential clean technology growth. Green technology is the answer to fix our economy. If we open solar factories in every state then hire people to install them, it will create millions of jobs almost instantly. And, millions of people who have jobs, spend an awful lot of money. That is how we can make over the economy.

Solar power production up despite poor economy. David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer, San Francisco This year’s stagnant economy hasn’t stopped the spread of solar power.

The United States installed enough solar panels during the first six months of 2010 to generate up to 339 megawatts of electricity and will soon surpass last year’s record of 435 megawatts, according to a study released Tuesday by a solar industry trade group.

As usual, more solar panels have been installed this year in California enough to generate 120 megawatts than in any other state. By the standards of the electricity industry, the power furnished by all those solar panels isn’t much.

A single mid-size power plant burning fossil fuels, for comparison, generates around 500 megawatts, enough electricity to supply roughly 375,000 typical homes.

But the study by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research shows the United States solar market growing at a brisk pace despite the country’s economic slump. The amount of solar generating capacity installed year by year has quadrupled since 2006, driven by government incentives, consumer demand and a plunge in prices.

“Looking forward, the question isn’t whether the U.S. (photovoltaic) market will grow, but how fast it will grow,” said Shayle Kann, managing director of solar research for GTM.

California has typically been the solar industry’s most important market within the United States. State rebates helped stoke consumer demand for solar panels, and a state law will soon force California’s large utility companies to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources.

Other states, however, are following California’s lead. In 2009, only seven states installed enough solar panels to generate 10 megawatts or more, according to the association. By the end of this year, 15 states should pass that mark.

“This is very crucial, because ultimately, the growth of the U.S. solar equipment and installation market depends on having a true, 50-state market,” Kann said.

A steep drop in worldwide prices for solar modules also helped fuel the market’s growth, even as it put pressure on solar companies. A separate report released Tuesday by a division of the California Public Utilities Commission found that the price for solar systems in California has dropped 18.8 percent since peaking at $10.35 per watt in October 2008. A typical home solar system generates 2 to 4 kilowatts.

However, the commission’s report also found that the price of large photovoltaic installations used by the state’s utilities has risen. One possible explanation offered by the report: The California law that requires utilities to increase their use of renewable power has created a seller’s market, allowing solar companies to charge more than they would have otherwise.