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Did You Know There Are More Solar Workers In Texas Than Ranchers?

Thursday, Aug 22 2013

Rhone Resch

Originally published on Renewable Energy World

Every day, I talk to groups and reporters about the amazing growth of solar all across the United States. But for the past week, there has been more buzz than ever about America’s solar industry because of the decision by President Obama to install solar panels on the White House.

Think about it. Is there any billboard in the world better for your industry than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Not a shot!

In some ways, this is like getting the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. We put a bug in President Obama’s ear about installing solar panels on the White House when he first took office in 2009, and we’ve brought it up in every meeting since then. To see this finally happen is not only gratifying, but it also helps to highlight solar as a mainstream source of clean, abundant and affordable energy. 

So I thought it would be a great time to share with you some fun facts about solar:

  • Today, solar generates enough electricity in the United States to power 1.3 million American homes – that’s the equivalent of every home in the state of Connecticut.
  • Since the beginning of 2010, average panel prices have declined by more than 70% and average system prices have declined by nearly 50%, making solar more affordable than ever for more families and companies.
  • A solar system is installed in the U.S. every four minutes. That breaks down to two panels every second.
  • Right now, more than 30 utility-scale, clean energy solar projects are under construction in the United States – utilizing both CSP and PV technologies.
  • A utility-scale solar power plant can generate as much electricity as a medium-sized, coal-burning power plant – and without the pollution!
  • Total installed solar photovoltaic capacity grew more than 76% in 2012 compared to 2011, with growth in all market segments – residential, commercial and utility – making solar one of the fastest-growing industries in America.
  • Solar is by far the nation’s single most abundant renewable energy resource.  NREL estimates that there is enough available rooftop area alone to support 819 terawatt hours of solar energy each year.
  • Over the past five years, polls consistently show that 9 out of 10 Americans support solar and want to see its expanded use in the United States.
  • The Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program has an approximately 97% success rate.
  • Colorado now has enough solar capacity to power nearly 50,000 homes.  If you stacked the panels, they would reach 3 miles into the sky! (Top 10 Solar States)
  • A rapidly-growing solar industry in Maryland has already surpassed the state’s famous crab industry in value. (Top 10 Solar States)
  • Hawaii gets a greater percentage of electricity from solar than any other state. (Top 10 Solar States)
  • Solar has quadrupled in Massachusetts this year, bolstered by strong solar policies. In fact, the solar industry made more money installing panels than the New England Patriots did selling tickets! (Top 10 Solar States)
  • If you include all the usable land (not just rooftops) in Texas, you would have twice the solar potential of any other state. (Top 10 Solar States)
  • There are more solar businesses in New Jersey than tanning salons.  Think about that for a second. (Top 10 Solar States)
  • Arizona installed more utility-scale solar in 2012 than any other state. (Top 10 Solar States)
  • California installed more overall solar than any other state in 2012. If California was a nation, it would rank 7th globally in installed PV capacity. (Top 10 Solar States)
  • And, finally, there are more solar energy workers in California than there are actors; there are more solar energy works in Texas than there are ranchers; and nationwide, there are solar energy workers than there are coal miners. (Solar Foundation

I hope that you took some notes.  We’ll have a pop quiz on Monday (lol).  Thanks for all that you do to support solar in America!

Rhone Resch, SEIA President and CEO


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