This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 22, 2002

U.S. Solar, Wind Companies Thrive on Exports

While U.S. renewable energy companies face stiff competition from foreign competitors, they also rely heavily on the international market. And while solar companies have traditionally counted on exports of their products, a recent trend in the solar power industry involves the export of the actual production technologies.

A case in point is GT Solar Technologies, which in April announced the sale of a photovoltaic wafer production line to China and the sale of a number of furnaces for growing multicrystalline silicon ingots (used for making solar cells) to a company in Germany. In early May, Spire Corporation added to the trend when it sold a 10-megawatt solar module production line to a company in Cyprus.

Meanwhile, the U.S. wind energy industry appears to be staying with the more traditional business model of exporting its products. Southwest Windpower, in fact, was honored in early May with the 2002 Small Business Exporter of the Year award from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Using the Ex-Im Bank's export credit insurance program, Southwest Windpower was able to offer open accounts to its small foreign distributors in markets such as Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, India, South Africa and St. Lucia, easing the distributors' cash flow and allowing them to place larger orders. As a result, 50 percent of the company's revenues came from exports last year, and its products are now sold in more than 50 countries. See the Ex-Im Bank press release.