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Europe has always provided the world’s largest market for the solar electricity industry.
But the U.S. might now be the fastest-growing one.
Since the first quarter of 2010, the amount of energy produced from solar electric systems has grown 66% across the country.
California is currently the largest solar market in the nation, with New Jersey following close behind.
These states have issued mandates requiring specific percentages of energy from renewable sources each year, and it’s with this that the solar market is expanding.
And the government funding doesn’t really hurt, either.
In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included Section 1705, which created loan guarantees for solar projects.
The government promised to repay these loans if the borrowing projects were unable to.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is continuing to provide these loans, as Wednesday it announced a $359.1 million loan guarantee to Sempra Generation, a solar company planning a project in Arizona.
The company was the first to offer renewable energy to Pacific Gas & Electric in 2009 with a project in Nevada producing 10MW of solar energy, according to Reuters, and now they’re offering PG&E an even larger energy supply – 150MW.
This is just one of 11 solar projects to which the DOE has provided loans in the past 2 years.
Another push to the solar output this past year was due to a different government subsidy.
A federal program funding 30% of the total sum of various renewable projects was set to terminate at the end of 2010, and this deadline got a number of solar projects off the ground in anticipation of the looming expiration date.
Fortunately, this program was extended to last another year, and perhaps we will see another boost in the market output in the year to come.
Funding provided by the government is going to create the biggest boost in the solar market and the renewable energy market in general.
Of course, solar prices have been decreasing with the market expansion. Within the past year, solar panel prices have fallen 7%, according to Bloomberg.
It’s only a slight drop, but either way prices are falling.
And the market is expanding.
And the government is still funding.
That’s all for now,