Last year, while everyone was focused on a slow economic recovery, the U.S. solar energy boomed in all sectors -- residential, commercial property and utility-scale. And there are significant amounts of new solar energy coming with the advancement of several utility-scale projects.
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Hola! Greetings from Cancun where I saw immediate differences in this year's global climate talks from the moment I stepped off the plane. Instead of cold, cloudy Copenhagen, I was greeted by warm sunshine and a beautiful setting surrounded by the rich blue-green waters of the sea and bay. Last year I needed a parka; this year I need sunglasses. I'm hopeful improved weather is a good sign of an equally improved outcome. Delegates have a constant reminder (and distraction) to work through our shared challenges towards solutions.
It's that time of year when many Americans are just returning from a summer vacation. During their travels, most of those vacationers probably passed by some of the many solar projects, large and small, being installed across the country. However, they probably didn't know that while they were on holiday, smart policies were at work speeding up deployment of solar projects. From PV farms to solar water heating systems, solar is having a record growth year and is creating stable, well-paying American jobs.
The end of a long winter and the welcomed start of spring bring the all-American sport back to life. The last season transitions to memory, baseball fans ponder the present condition of their teams and we all smile at the opportunity to go outside without a coat. Spring also brings another event, the release of SEIA's annual "U.S. Solar Year in Review".
Across the country, people will start tuning in today to see how well they've done filling out their brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament. When it comes to making their picks for energy, three out of four Americans have solar going all the way in their bracket.
What is apparent during the time we've been here in Copenhagen representing the U.S. solar industry is that the renewable energy industry has become a force in the climate debate. No longer are we relying on the environmental community to carry our message (which they have done well in the past).
Earlier today, I attended a briefing by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu in which he announced a new initiative that the administration is launching to expand clean energy technologies in developing countries. This program is a great sign of leadership by the administration given how vocal developing countries have been here at COP15.