Saturday, December 18, 2010




Solar energy is the cleanest, most abundant, renewable energy source available. And the U.S. has some of the richest solar resources shining across the nation. Today's technology allows us to capture this power in several ways giving the public and commercial entities flexible ways to employ both the heat and light of the sun.

The greatest challenge the U.S. solar market faces is scaling up production and distribution of solar energy technology to drive the price down to be on par with traditional fossil fuel sources.

Solar energy can be produced on a distributed basis, called distributed generation, with equipment located on rooftops or on ground-mounted fixtures close to where the energy is used. Large-scale concentrating solar power systems can also produce energy at a central power plant.

There are four ways we harness solar energy: photovoltaics (converting light to electricity), heating and cooling systems (solar thermal), concentrating solar power (utility scale), and lighting. Active solar energy systems employ devices that convert the sun's heat or light to another form of energy we use. Passive solar refers to special siting, design or building materials that take advantage of the sun's position and availability to provide direct heating or lighting. Passive solar also considers the need for shading devices to protect buildings from excessive heat from the sun.More info at

Thinking about going solar?

Putting solar on your home or commercial property is a great way to save on your utility bills, guarantee a fixed energy rate, cut harmful pollution and become more energy independent. It's also more efficient to produce energy near where it is used.

First step is to assess whether your property is a good site for solar. You should have a span of open rooftop space or land that is free of shade for at least 5 hours a day. Rooftops work best if facing south, but your installer can likely set your panels at an angle to capture enough sun from other directions.

Like any home or business property improvement, it's a good idea to get at least three solid proposals from experienced contractors. Check references on past projects and ask about credentials, licenses and membership in trade and business groups. SEIA requires members to sign a code of ethics, pledging to deliver high-quality service and fair and honest rates.More info at

Find a job in solar or start a business

Besides being a great time to go solar, it's a great time to consider a job in solar. The industry is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of more than 50 percent, so there is a need for qualified employees all along the supply-chain from researchers, materials suppliers and manufacturers to project developers, installersand construction workers, as well as support from financing, legal, and marketing.

You may be able to transfer your skills and experience directly to help a solar energy company expand, get training to transition to a new career in solar. There are a variety of government sponsored and industry training and certification programs to choose from.

Contractors and building companies often extend their service offerings to include solar energy installation drawing on their experience in HVAC, electrical, plumbing, construction and general contacting.More info at

The solar industry employs almost 100,000 Americans across all fifty states, and is projected to support over half a million American jobs by 2016. These jobs exist across many sectors of the economy—from manufacturing and engineering, to construction and sales, and across supporting industries.

Unlike other energy sources, solar resources exist throughout the nation, meaning that solar energy can strengthen the economy of every state and region with solid wages and sustainable careers.

Solar energy is the cleanest, most abundant, renewable energy source available. And the U.S. has some of the world's richest solar resources. Solar workers help to capture this massive, domestic energy source to power our homes, businesses and vehicles, while strengthening our national security by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
More info at

Solar is an Emerging Economic Engine

A robust solar industry in the U.S. is an economic engine that will help relieve a struggling American economy. With aggressive and effective national policy, solar power will create tens of thousands of jobs across the country and will spur billions of dollars in economic growth and tax revenue. Consider the growth of solar in 2007:

New solar installations nationwide increased by more than 40 percent from 2006 to 2007.
Expansions of solar energy companies resulted in 6,000 new jobs, 265 megawatts of energy and more than $2 billion of investment in the U.S. economy by Wall Street firms such as JP Morgan, Chase and Goldman Sachs.
The first utility-scale solar power plant in the U.S. in 18 years went online.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that an additional thirty gigawatts of solar energy will be deployed as a result of the recent eight year extension of the solar investme. This is enough energy to power more than five million homes! NREL also estimates that the solar market would continue to drive increased deployment even after the tax credits expire.

An expanding solar market creates thousands of new jobs - jobs like electricians, construction workers, plumbers, line workers, roofers, engineers and high-paying manufacturing positions - for a struggling economy. More info at

Solar Leads the Way in Stabilizing America's Energy Security

Energy security is increasingly finding its way into the national consciousness. Whether in terms of national security or our ability to respond to domestic challenges such as natural disasters, energy is one of the most critical issues facing the U.S. Solar provides crucial energy supplies vital to the function of homes, businesses and the entire economy.

The hurricanes in the fall of 2005 were a stark reminder of the vulnerability of our domestic supplies of oil and natural gas to severe weather and environmental factors. Not only does solar energy provide reliable access to energy where it is used, but it can supplement energy needs in blackouts and disaster recovery for electricity, water pumping and hot water.

With the cost of oil rising to more than $130 per barrel, a gallon of gasoline to more than $4 at the pump and skyrocketing electric bills, Americans are feeling the squeeze. Complicating matters, most of America's energy supply arrives from politically volatile regions of the world. Rapidly growing economies, such as China and India, are staking larger and larger claims to dwindling global energy resources. According to the Energy Information Agency, two-thirds of the petroleum and 20 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is imported from other countries, and U.S. production of both is dropping while consumption continues to rise.

A fully-developed U.S. solar market will decrease our overdependence on foreign sources of oil and natural gas and meet long term demands for domestically produced clean energy. The U.S. must make a long term investment in a diverse, clean, and renewable energy portfolio - with solar in the lead - if it is to have a secure energy future. More info at

Harnessing the Power of the Sun to Confront Global Climate Change

As global climate change impacts the way the U.S. addresses environmental policy, conducts business and harnesses energy, the solar energy industry is leading the way with a renewable energy source that creates economic growth and reduces carbon emissions. Solar is an pollution-free source of electricity and hot water that can be immediately deployed to reduce the nation's growing carbon footprint.

As the federal government considers climate change legislation, Congress should create carbon output-based market rules that encourage carbon-free technologies and allow energy sources such as solar to be rewarded for producing.


Željko Serdar
Head of business association

1 comment:

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