US Solar Market Hit Record Growth in 2008, Despite Economic Crisis

Smart federal policies needed to maintain growth, meet Obama's renewable energy goals

WASHINGTON-The Solar Energy Industries Association released its 2008 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review, highlighting a third year of record growth. SEIA reports 1,265 megawatts of solar power of all types were installed in 2008, raising total capacity 17 percent to 8,775 MW. The 2008 figure included 342 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV), 139 MW of solar water heating, 762 MW of pool heating and an estimated 21 MW of solar space heating and cooling.

SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch: "Despite economic pressures, solar energy demand grew tremendously in 2008. Solar is an emerging economic engine, creating thousands of jobs, unleashing billions in investment and building new factories nationwide.

"To continue growing, create jobs and meet President Obama's renewable energy goals, we need smart federal policies, like a renewable portfolio standard designed to deploy solar resources. Today's technology combined with the right policies will help us double U.S. solar production and move to a clean energy future."

SEIA Chairman Roger Efird, President of Suntech America, Inc.: "The growth of solar manufacturing jobs in the U.S. was a breath of fresh air for communities hit hard by the recession. The recently enacted manufacturing tax credit will encourage companies, such as mine, to invest in new U.S. operations. With the right policies, solar deployment will continue growing and create thousands of new green-collar manufacturing jobs in states where they are needed most."

Report highlights include:
Overall U.S. solar industry capacity increased 17 percent. Installed grid-tied PV increased 58 percent in 2008 from 2007 and grew at a faster rate (81 percent) compared to 2007.

Installed grid-tied PV increased by more than 18,000 installations in 2008 (more than 27 percent) compared to 14,306 installations in 2007.

More than 6 GW (6,090 MW) of utility-scale CSP plants are in the pipeline.

PV manufacturing capacity increased 65 percent, production increased 53 percent.

Solar water heating installation increased 50 percent in 2008 (139 MWTh) over 2007 (93 MWTh).

US leapfrogged Japan and is 3rd after Spain and Germany for new capacity; remains 4th for total cumulative installed solar.

Full 2008 report:
Full news release:


Rhone Resch is on Twitter at

Media Contacts:

Monique Hanis, 202-682-0556,

Mark Sokolove, 703-302-8382,

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