Press Releases

 

Entries in Solar Energy (193)

Tuesday
May192015

SEIA - New Analysis Shows Huge Growth in Solar Over Past Decade 

 

WASHINGTON, DC - From the end of 2004 through the end of 2014, the deployment of solar energy in the United States grew at an unprecedented rate, according to a new video report, Solar Energy in the United States: A Decade of Record Growth, released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

According to a detailed SEIA analysis, in 2004, there were 500 megawatts (MW) of solar energy installed nationwide. But by the end of 2014, there were 20,000 MW – enough to power more than 4 million homes – with 97 percent of that capacity added after passage of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Over the same time period, the cumulative investment in installed solar installations in the U.S. soared from $2.6 billion to $71.1 billion.

“Our new video report is not only filled with important information, but it tells solar energy’s tremendous success story in a fun and visually-interesting way,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.  “Did you know that in 2004 only two states had 10 MW of installed solar capacity, yet a decade later, 35 states had topped that threshold – and 20 states had more than 100 MW?  But here’s the best news of all: we expect to double our total capacity in the next two years alone.”

Here are some other key takeaways from SEIA’s analysis:

  • In 2004, approximately 15,500 homes had solar photovoltaic (PV) installations across the U.S. Through the end of 2014, that number had grown to 600,000.
  • From 2004 to 2014, the number of utility-scale solar projects in the U.S. – both PV and concentrated solar power (CSP) – increased by more than 10-fold, growing from 100 projects to nearly 1,100 projects spread across 30 states.
  • From 2004 to 2014, the amount of installed utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. increased by more than 30 times, from 365 MW to 11,440 MW.
  • In 2004, the U.S. had 58 MW of total solar capacity. In 2014, 14 states installed that much solar or more, with a record total 7,000 MW coming online nationwide.
  • Over the 10-year period studied, the average price of an installed residential PV system dropped by more than 60 percent, and utility-scale prices plummeted by more than 73 percent.
  • In 2014, for the first time in history, each of the three major U.S. market segments – utility-scale, commercial and residential – all installed more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar PV.

“Most importantly, the tremendous growth of solar energy in the United States has translated into tens of thousands of new jobs,” Resch said.  “In 2004, there were less than 20,000 people at work in the U.S. solar industry.  Through 2014, that number had soared to 174,000 – with new jobs being added every day.  Without question, effective, forward-looking public policies, like the solar ITC, Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), are helping to drive solar energy’s remarkable growth.  Because of these polices, we should be generating enough clean electricity to power more than 8 million American homes by the end of 2016, benefitting both our economy and environment, while providing homeowners, businesses, schools, nonprofits and government officials at all levels with real choices in how they meet their electricity needs in the future.”


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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Friday
Apr242015

SEIA - Solar Industry Makes Commitment to Employ 50,000 Veterans by 2020 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As part of Joining Forces, an initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to rally support for U.S. service members, veterans and their families, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today committed to having 50,000 veterans working in solar by 2020. The First Lady shared the news at an event this afternoon in Manassas, Virginia, which was part of a commitment made by several high-growth sectors of the U.S. economy, including solar. Among those attending the event were SEIA Board Chairman Nat Kreamer, who also serves as president and CEO of Clean Power Finance.

“As an industry, we are completely committed to hiring more veterans,” said Kreamer, who is a veteran himself, having served in the Special Forces in Afghanistan where he was awarded the Bronze Star. “Today, America’s solar energy companies already employ twice as many veterans as the average U.S. business. We hire veterans because they come trained, ready and passionate. The solar industry is filled with people who are motivated to build our economy, improve our environment and strengthen our national security.”

As examples of veterans working to build a stronger solar industry in America, Kreamer pointed to Colonel Thom Besch (Ret.) and Captain Michael Baskin (Ret.). Former Army Captain Baskin is working with military bases across the nation to certify service members under guidelines established by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). This rigorous program is considered the “gold standard” for PV and solar heating installation certification.

Earlier this year, the first classes of NABCEP-certified veterans graduated and started jobs in solar. Colonel Besch is one of those putting veterans to work in solar. He retired from the U.S. Army, after serving for 30 years, and took a job leading solar installations for a New England solar integrator. After a few years, he started his own company – Veteran Solar Systems (“Still Serving: Country, Community, and You”) – where he sells and installs distributed solar systems in upstate New York.

“We salute the efforts of Colonel Besch, Captain Baskin and many others like them,” Kreamer continued. “Solar, like the military, is not just about the paycheck; it is also about working for something larger than oneself.”

Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America, with more than 20 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity – enough to power more than 4 million homes – and those numbers are expected to double by the end of 2016.

“We’re very excited about bringing more and more veterans into our ranks, and applaud the efforts of First Lady Obama, Dr. Biden and Joining Forces,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.  “Today, solar employs 174,000 Americans nationwide – including veterans from all branches of the U.S. military – making solar one of the fastest-growing industries in America.  This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).  By any measurement, these policies are paying dividends for our economy – and our military veterans.”

 


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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Wednesday
Apr222015

SEIA - Solar Industry Supports Needed Changes to U.S. Electric Grid 

WASHINGTON, DC - The first-ever “Quadrennial Energy Review” was released today by the Obama administration, calling for “significant change” to America’s aging energy infrastructure, including long overdue upgrades to the U.S. electric grid. In response, Ken Johnson, vice president of communications for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the following statement:

 

“We agree with the findings of the Quadrennial Energy Review that a top priority should be placed on modernizing America’s electric grid to better accommodate renewable energy sources and the growth of distributed generation, such as rooftop solar. Today’s grid is ancient, aging ungracefully and facing enormous challenges in the future – from meeting America’s day-to-day electricity needs to national security threats. For renewables in particular, the grid doesn't exist in many places which offer the best solar resources -- or what infrastructure does exist is already committed to other generation sources. Simply put, new or upgraded transmission capabilities will help to move power from where it's generated to where people need it the most. Without question, dramatic changes to the grid are needed in the years ahead, and we applaud President Obama and DOE Secretary Moniz for making this important issue a national call-to-action.”


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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Saturday
Apr042015

SEIA Hails Energy Department Initiative to Train Solar Workers 

WASHINGTON, DC - In a decision that’s certain to help to speed up America’s transition to a clean energy future, President Obama announced today that the Department of Energy (DOE) will launch a new initiative to train 75,000 Americans – including military veterans – to enter the solar workforce by 2020. The President made the announcement at Hill Air Force Base in Utah as part of a roundtable discussion on clean energy technology and workforce training with Sen. Orin Hatch, Congressman Rob Bishop and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

“This new initiative will provide a big boost to the U.S. economy, while also helping to maintain solar energy’s explosive jobs growth,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “With stable public policies in place, we will not only meet the President’s goal of adding 75,000 new solar jobs in America by 2020, but we will blow past it. Today, the solar industry already employs 174,000 workers nationwide – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy. This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both our economy and environment.”

According to The Solar Foundation’s 2014 National Jobs Census, the solar industry in America is becoming increasingly diverse, with minorities, women and veterans representing a growing percentage of the workforce. Over the past five years alone, the industry has added more than 80,000 new employees – an increase of 86 percent.

Also, as part of today’s announcement, the White House will work to make G.I. Bill funding available to support solar workforce training. Dating back to 1944, the G.I. Bill has been widely hailed by historians as one of America’s most successful economic and political programs.

“With approximately 200,000 U.S. servicemen and women leaving the military each year, much more needs to be done to help them find civilian jobs and meaningful workforce training,” Resch said.  “As an industry, we are uniquely positioned to help. Record-breaking growth in solar energy installations nationwide requires a growing and skilled solar workforce. We applaud the President and his administration for undertaking this new initiative, and we’re prepared, and excited, to do our part to help. We look forward to more and more of our military veterans becoming solar veterans, too.”

The White House’s new workforce training initiative closely tracks U.S. public opinion. A new Gallup Poll shows that 91 percent of Americans want to see more emphasis, or the same emphasis as today, on producing solar energy. Compared to oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and other renewables, solar was the only energy source to show an increase in public favorability when compared to results of a similar nationwide poll taken by Gallup in 2013. 

Today, there are 20 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity in the U.S. – enough to power more than 4 million homes – with another 20 GW projected to come online by the end of 2016. What’s spurring this rapid growth? For one thing, solar energy is now more affordable than ever. According to SEIA/GTM Research, national blended average system prices have dropped 53 percent since 2010. 

Resch said the industry is also helping to fight climate change. Last year, solar helped to offset 22.3 million metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, the equivalent of removing 4.7 million cars off America’s highways and roads, or not burning 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline.

“Every 2.5 minutes of every single day, the U.S. solar industry is helping to fight climate change by flipping the switch on another completed solar project,” Resch added. “We’re proud that solar accounted for one-third of all new electric generation capacity last year in the United States. And, frankly, we’re just scratching the surface of our enormous potential.”


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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Friday
Apr032015

SEIA - Vermont Posts Significant Gains in Solar Capacity in 2014 

Vermont Posts Significant Gains in Solar Capacity in 2014

April 2, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, DC - Showing strong growth in all market sectors, Vermont more than doubled its amount of installed solar capacity in 2014, according to the recently-released U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review.  What’s more, Vermont was one of only four states nationwide to have 100 percent of its new electrical capacity come from solar energy.

In 2014, Vermont added 38 megawatts (MW) of solar electric capacity, bringing its total to 70 MW.  That’s enough clean, affordable energy to power nearly 7,500 homes. The report went on to point out that Vermont’s biggest solar gains came in utility-scale installations, but commercial and residential installations showed strong increases, as well. Of the new capacity added, 27 MW were utility scale, 6 MW were residential and 4 MW were commercial. Together, these installations represented a $76 million investment across Vermont – a 63 percent increase over the year before.

“Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont’s legislative leaders should be applauded for their ongoing commitment to the state’s clean energy future,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “As evidenced by this report, their efforts are paying big dividends for the state’s economy and environment. During Gov. Shumlin’s administration, solar prices in Vermont have dropped by more than 60 percent, while his latest plan, an ambitious Energy Innovation Program, is likely to serve as a model for other states to follow.  We congratulate Gov. Shumlin for laying out an agenda for a clean energy economy which focuses on jobs, affordability, renewable energy and quality of life for all Vermonters.”

Today, there are more than 70 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Vermont, employing 1,000 people. Notable Vermont solar projects include:

  • PSEG Essex Solar Energy Center was completed in 2014 by developer Juwi Solar Inc. This photovoltaic (PV) project has the capacity to generate 3.9 MW of electricity-- enough to power more than 700 Vermont homes.
  • At 3 MW, SunGen1 in Sharon is among the largest solar installations in Vermont. Completed by Talmage Solar Engineering, this PV project has enough electric capacity to power more than 500 homes.

In addition to a growing commercial sector, the Vermont residential market also showed gains last year, with installed system prices dropping by 8 percent – and down a total of 49 percent since 2010. Nationwide, the U.S. residential market added 1.2 GW of installed capacity in 2014, marking the first time that this growing sector surpassed 1 GW of clean, affordable solar.  Residential also continues to be the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S., with 2014 marking three consecutive years of greater than 50 percent annual growth.

“Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy,” Resch added. “This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. and Vermont economies, as well as for our environment.”


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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.