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

March 09, 2005

Solar Power Leaders Launch Group to Grow U.S. Markets

Leaders from the solar power industry launched a new group, "Americans for Solar Power - PV Manufacturers Alliance," on March 1st at the Power-Gen Renewable Energy Conference. The new alliance aims to establish thriving, sustainable mainstream markets for cost-effective distributed solar power, through policy and regulatory initiatives that lead to robust market growth. The alliance, based in Arizona, is dedicated to helping the United States achieve an annual 1-gigawatt market for distributed solar power by 2010. See the press release on the Americans for Solar Power Web site.

A study released by the Energy Foundation on March 1st finds a price breakthrough would be one route to huge growth in U.S. solar power markets. The study, prepared by Navigant Consulting, Inc., concludes that a price of $2 to $2.50 per installed watt for grid-connected solar photovoltaic rooftops could yield a U.S. market of 2.9 gigawatts per year by 2010, nearly three times the alliance's goal. See the Energy Foundation press release (PDF 135 KB) or go directly to the full report (PDF 2.0 MB). Download Acrobat Reader.

A less encouraging report from the Business Communications Company, Inc. (BCC) predicts that the worldwide market for photovoltaic devices will grow from 973.1 megawatts in 2004 to 1,778 megawatts (or about 1.8 gigawatts) in 2009. If foreign markets continue to be larger than U.S. markets, that would make it difficult to create a 1-gigawatt U.S. market by 2010. In a related report from DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA), a comparison of renewable energy policies in the United States and four other countries concludes that many U.S. policies are enacted at the state level and may not be synchronized with federal policies, which themselves are subject to periodic reauthorization or appropriations legislation. In contrast, policies to promote renewable energy in Germany, Denmark, and Japan have tended to be coordinated and consistent, thereby helping to build significant renewable energy markets in those countries. See the BCC press release and the EIA report.