These two reports represent some of the latest thinking on building solar PV markets in the U.S.
Two reports released today, one by Clean Edge, Inc. and Co-op America's Solar Catalyst Group, and the other by the Energy Foundation and Navigant Consulting Inc., highlight the enormous potential for solar PV in the U.S. if government, industry, and investors cooperate to bring down installed solar photovoltaic (PV) pricing.
The Solar High-Impact National Energy (SHINE Project report, available at www.cleanedge.com and www.solarcatalyst.org, outlines a three-pronged federal program to regain American leadership in the high-growth global solar PV industry. If enacted, the plan would create up to 580,000 new American jobs and generate up to 9 percent of the country's total electricity needs by 2025.
The report outlines a ten-year plan to aggressively push solar PV over the tipping point -- making solar cost-effective for businesses, homeowners, industry, and utilities far faster than current, business-as-usual trends. It includes an innovative federal block-grant program; an aggressive federal solar procurement commitment; and a high-stakes/high-reward competition to develop and deploy low-cost solar solutions.
PV Grid Connected Market Potential in 2010 under a Cost Breakthrough Scenario, available at www.ef.org and www.navigantconsulting.com, describes the vast market potential for rooftop solar PV systems in the United States. The report concludes that rooftop space is not a constraining factor for solar development. Residential and commercial rooftop space in the U.S. could accommodate up to 710,000 MW of solar electric power (if all rooftops were fully utilized). For comparison, total electricity-generating capacity in the U.S. today is about 950,000 MW.
These two reports represent some of the latest thinking on building solar PV markets in the U.S. And as Governor Schwarzenegger of California moves forward with his plans to power up to a million California homes with solar by 2018 -- these two reports couldn't be more timely.