Solar Temperatures Rising!
On all fronts, solar is heating up.
Polemic in congress and by detractors, job & export creation by US firms, and public support.
The bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, and ensuing reports of fat bonuses and misconduct, are fueling the detractors and absorbing the media and congress. But let’s not get so focused on the Solyndra tree that we can see the Solar Promise forest. China is investing billions into their clean tech companies, and they certainly have factored in that some will fail.
The China Development Bank has put $30 billion in credit into solar companies in 2010. The CDB has announced financial commitments of at least $15 billion to aid companies in the nascent wind industry; and China plans on investing around $45 billion in smart-grid over the next five years. Solyndras’ potential loss of $528 million is 1.7% of the solar commitment by the CDB; and 0.5867% of the solar-wid-smart grid investments above. There’s a big forest out there.
Job & Export Creation
The Solar Foundation’s recent “National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce” report found that more than 100,000 Americans are now employed in the solar industry. The solar industry’s job growth rate is 6.8%, which is much higher than the 2% net job loss in fossil fuel power generation and the general economy’s anemic job growth. And manufacturing jobs in solar grew almost 25 %, while solar sales and distribution jobs had the strongest growth and next year is anticipated to grow 35%.
California is the national leader in solar employment accounting for ¼ of the US solar jobs. The top 10 solar employment states are Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Texas, Oregon, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Oregon, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The Census found that solar employers anticipate increasing jobs by 24% by August 2012; and over the next year, almost half of solar firms expect to add jobs. The US Solar Industry exported a net $1.9B in 2010, according to GTM Research and SEIA.
9 out of 10 Americans Support Solar according to the 2011 SCHOTT Solar Barometer, conducted annually by independent polling firm Kelton Research. Key findings of the survey include:
• 89% of Americans think it is important to develop and use solar power
• 82% support federal solar incentives
• 82% support U.S. solar manufacturing
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