Solar power revenue lights up the states

US solar power industry revenue increased by a whopping 36% last year compared with 2008, according to the trade association representing the industry.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) revealed the improvement in its annual report released last night (April 15).

It says a combination of US policies, new business models and declining prices has driven expansion in 2009 – which it expects to continue into 2010.

Overall, the SEIA says solar electric capacity, including both photovoltaic and concentrating solar power installations, increased by 37%.

This was driven primarily by strong demand in the residential and utility-scale markets, state and federal policy advances and declining technology prices.

As a result, total solar industry revenue reached $4bn – a 36% increase over 2008.

Other highlights from the report show that the solar industry contributed to the overall economy by adding 17,000 new jobs from coast to coast.

And it now employs 46,000 US workers and supports an additional 33,000 jobs in other sectors.

SEIA president, Rhone Resch, said: “Despite the great recession of 2009, the US solar industry had a winning year and posted strong growth numbers.

“When the president looks back at how stimulus dollars were invested, he’s going to see that solar was one of the best returns on investments in 2009 for the American taxpayers.”

The US on 481MW ranked fourth in new solar electric capacity in 2009, behind leaders Germany 3,000MW, Italy 700 MW, and Japan just ahead on 484 MW.

Luke Walsh

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