Setting Higher Solar Standards

Despite the recession, the U.S. solar industry has continued to expand.© Habitat for Humanity

The U.S. solar industry has set a goal of installing 10 gigawatts of solar energy annually by 2015. In a recent statement, Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), called the BP oil spill a wake-up call. "Americans are calling for a new direction for our energy future," Resch said. "And in communities across America, people are asking for an energy source that is clean, reliable, safe and creates economic opportunity." Solar energy, he says, meets all of those criteria.

The CEO’s statement creates an ambitious—but doable—target for the U.S. solar industry—an industry that has continued to expand despite the recent recession. In the SEIA’s 2009 Year in Review, solar electric capacity increased by 37% with an annual revenue of $4 billion. The recent goal of 10 gigawatts annually by 2015 would provide two million Americans with clean energy and create over 440,000 jobs, SEIA reports.

In his statement, Resch says solar has met many milestones. "We are already cost competitive with fossil fuels," he says, "and by 2015 we expect solar energy to be the lowest cost source of retail electricity in all 50 states."

Resch adds that the only obstacle to a true solar revolution in the U.S. is widespread, supportive public policy.