The Dernogalizer

September 20, 2009

Local Co-Ops help you go Solar

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 12:14 pm
Tags: ,

I thought I’d share a good article from the Washington Post about how being part of a local Co-Op can help you get solar without hassle and at a discounted price.  Excerpts below.

“People said: ‘I don’t know if I could do this. I don’t have the time.’ I said we could all do it together; we could all go solar,” said Ryan, a former policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency who now teaches art at Sidwell Friends School.”

“Common Cents negotiates discounts from installers, fills out paperwork, applies for rebates, bundles solar credits, helps with scheduling and even arranges to get house keys to let in contractors. Homeowners sign contracts with and make payments to Common Cents, which then pays the contractors. The co-op helped Helen Price, a resident of the town of Chevy Chase, install an array of Sunslates, which resemble regular slate shingles but actually function like solar panels.”

“About 10 more solar installations were completed earlier this month. Schoolman and Morley expect nearly 50 homeowners to install rooftop solar pieces this fall. The co-op claims that its 50 solar-powered homes will cut carbon emissions by 6.7 million pounds over the panels’ expected 25-year life span.”

“You need about 10 households in order to get enough interest from installers where you might be able to get a price advantage,” said Fred Ugast, who heads the SREC broker U.S. Photovoltaics in Frederick. “There is not a lot of room now for discounts. A glut of panels has reduced hardware pricing.”

Lisa Heaton and her family were looking at a $45,000 install job for their total 4.6-kilowatt systems, but they got a $40,000 quote and signed a contract for it through Common Cents in November 2008.

“Then because of the power of the co-op,” the price dipped to the $35,000 she paid in April, Heaton said. Fliers from a solar installation company now promise that system for less than $32,000.”

September 2, 2009

Worship the Sun!

Filed under: energy — Matt Dernoga @ 8:51 pm
Tags: ,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2 September 2009

Contacts:

Kenny Frankel  kfrankel88@gmail.com 301-437-8197

Bob Hayes  debatebob@gmail.com 301-712-7352

MARYLAND STUDENTS TO WORSHIP THE SUN

UMD for Clean Energy will declare their love for what some call a “mass of incandescent gas” and renew their calls for sustainable energy at the University and all levels of government. Although the sun is not a place where you could live, students will demonstrate how its heat and light can reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Such technology can enable the State to reduce emissions by 2020, as mandated by the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Act passed earlier this year and the University to be carbon neutral by 2050 which President Dan Mote agreed to accomplish by signing the President’s Climate Commitment in 2007 and create millions of new, well-paying jobs.

WHAT: A celebration of the Sun and the energy it provides. The University has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050, a goal that requires a significant, immediate investment in clean energy technologies like solar power.

WHEN: Friday 4 September 2009, 12-4pm (Raindate: 11 September, 12-4pm)

WHERE: The Sundial on McKeldin Mall on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park

WHO: University of Maryland students and their friends, members of UMD for Clean Energy

WHY: “While students enjoy these last hot summer days on campus, we shouldn’t forget the other benefits of a sunny day, like the tremendous amount of energy the sun generates.  With all the public debate about alternative energy forms these days, we would be remiss not to put solar energy in the forefront of the discussion,” says Kenny Frankel, Media Director for UMD for Clean Energy.

VISUALS + DEMOS: more than a dozen replica wind turbines, two types of solar cookers, solar baked cookies, solar panel demonstrations, and Sun-sational music.

UMD for Clean Energy is a group of concerned students at the University of Maryland founded in 2007. Currently the group is working to elect local candidates who endorse the Green Platform for College Park and to pass federal climate legislation. Called highly-motivated by the Washington Post, they persuaded the university system of Maryland to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050 and were instrumental in pushing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act through the Maryland General Assembly, setting the strongest short-term emissions reduction target in the nation (25 percent reductions from 2006 levels by 2020.)

Online at www.umdforcleanenergy.com

###

August 23, 2009

Solar and Wave Power

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 5:52 pm
Tags: ,

A friend of mine forwarded me a couple of insightful articles into the solar industry, as well as tidal power which isn’t talked about all that much.  I thought it would be could to plug both the solar article in National Geographic, and the wave article in the Smithsonian Magazine.  Here’s two excerpts, one from each article.

Solar:  “With a new administration in Washington promising to take on global warming and loosen the grip of foreign oil, solar energy finally may be coming of age. Last year oil prices spiked to more than $140 a barrel before plunging along with the economy—a reminder of the dangers of tying the future to something as unpredictable as oil. Washington, confronting the worst recession since the 1930s, is underwriting massive projects to overhaul the country’s infrastructure, including its energy supply. In his inaugural address President Barack Obama promised to “harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.” His 2010 budget called for doubling the country’s renewable energy capacity in three years. Wind turbines and biofuels will be important contributors. But no form of energy is more abundant than the sun.”

Tidal: ”  As the sun set, it hit me: I could ride waves all day and all night, all year long,” says von Jouanne. “Wave power is always there. It never stops. I began thinking that there’s got to be a way to harness all the energy of an ocean swell, in a practical and efficient way, in a responsible way.”

Today, von Jouanne is one of the driving forces in the fast-growing field of wave energy—as well as its leading proponent. She will explain to anyone who will listen that unlike wind and solar power, wave energy is always available. Even when the ocean seems calm, swells are moving water up and down sufficiently to generate electricity. And an apparatus to generate kilowatts of power from a wave can be much smaller than what’s needed to harness kilowatts from wind or sunshine because water is dense and the energy it imparts is concentrated.

August 20, 2009

President Barack Obama’s Grandmother Joins the ‘Solar Generation’ in Kenya

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 12:59 pm
Tags: , ,

Greenpeace helped install solar panels in Kenya on the Senator Barack Obama School in Kogelo, and on the house of the President’s grandmother.  Photos can be found here.  Press release is below!

Kogelo, Kenya, 20 August 2009 – Young Kenyans working with Greenpeace’s Solar Generation are tackling the twin problems of energy poverty and climate change today, by installing solar panels on the Senator Barack Obama School in Kogelo and on the roof of the house of Mama Sarah – the US President’s grandmother.

Mama Sarah said: “I am very pleased that my home has been improved thanks to solar energy and I’ll make sure my grandson hears about it. Solar power is clean, reliable and affordable, unlike paraffin that is widely used in the area. Also, we now have qualified youth in the village who can help with the upkeep of the systems.”

The solar installations are part of a 20 day renewable energy workshop hosted by Greenpeace’s Solar Generation with 25 participants from the Kibera Community Youth Programme (1) and community members of Nyang’oma Kogelo. Young Kenyans are learning how solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity and about their installation and maintenance, the fabrication of self-assembling solar lamps and marketing potential.

Robert Kheyi, project coordinator for the Kibera Community Youth Programme, said: “The workshop and practical installation of solar power are a critical opportunity for us to develop our own skills in renewable energy installation. Not only do we get to act against the devastating effects of climate change in Kenya, but also develop a source of revenue.”

Kenya, like many other countries in Africa, is on the climate impacts frontline. It has seen a drastic reduction in rainfall in recent years. Drought has worsened problems in agriculture caused by poor land use and desertification, making Kenya’s large scale hydro power unreliable.

Faced with these challenges, investing in solar energy technologies is a win-win strategy. It strengthens the economy and protects the environment, while ensuring a reliable and clean energy supply. The solar industry is ready and able to deliver the needed capacity. There is no technical impediment to doing this, just a political barrier to overcome as we rebuild the global energy sector.

“It is time for the industrialised countries to give something back. At the Copenhagen Climate Summit this December President Obama and other world leaders must agree to avert further climate chaos including agreeing to fund projects like this throughout the developing world to help them both adapt to and mitigate climate change.” said Abigail Jabines, Greenpeace Solar Generation campaign coordinator.

Greenpeace is calling for rich countries to contribute US$140 billion annually to support climate adaptation, mitigation and forest protection in the developing world. With just 15 weeks left to go till the decisive UN climate talks in Copenhagen, Greenpeace urges world leaders to emulate the innovative young people of Kibera and Kogelo and translate their climate rhetoric into action in Copenhagen.


August 14, 2009

Solar Power getting Cheaper

Filed under: energy — Matt Dernoga @ 1:15 am
Tags: ,

I just read a great analysis by Adam Browning on Greentech Media of how and why the price of solar is dropping, and what this means for a faster transition to a clean energy economy.  I’m re-posting it below.

A Solar Renaissance

When solar gets cheap, fighting climate change gets a lot easier, says the Vote Solar Initiative’s Adam Browning.

Hear that sound? There it is again. That, my friends, is the sound of falling silicon prices. It might not sound like much, but frankly, in my opinion it’s the biggest environmental story of the year. It means that the era of cheap solar is – finally – at hand.  And when solar gets cheap, fighting climate change gets a lot easier.

Why is this happening? A short history of solar pricing is in order. For the past several years, solar photovoltaic companies have made steady progress reducing the cost of manufacturing solar panels. And for the past several years, the price of solar panels – what customers have to pay – has trended up. That’s because the price of solar has nothing to do with the cost of manufacturing. The price of solar is what customers are willing to pay. And since 2004, the price of solar modules globally has been effectively set by the clearing price in the German market.

In 2004, Germany got serious about its feed-in tariff, offering 20-year contracts at a fixed rate 57 eurocents per kilowatt hour to buy electricity from anyone that wanted to install a solar system and sell wholesale electricity. With a guaranteed lucrative market, companies and investors flooded the space, and the program built the solar industry’s manufacturing base into a global powerhouse. The German program saved the world, as far as I am concerned, but there were some downsides. With fixed prices, module manufactures were able to reverse-engineer their prices to maximize their margin… and solar module prices rose. And then the silicon manufacturers did the same to the the module manufacturers. In fixed-price markets, every step in the value chain has visibility into their customers’ margin, and the player with the most scarcity has the most leverage. In this case, it was silicon. The price of silicon rose threefold for long-term contracts-and and as much as tenfold in the spot market.

In late 2008, global manufacturing capacity finally exceeded demand, and everything changed.  With the reintroduction of competition, solar module prices have fallen 40 percent in the past six months alone.

Importantly, silicon contracts are being renegotiated (for example, see this recent news item about Suntech, one of the world’s largest manufacturers), which means the cost structure throughout the value chain is working out distortions. So, not only are prices going down but actual costs of production are too, which suggests that the recent price reductions are permanent and will continue. Prior to 2004, the price history of solar exhibited fairly consistent dynamics – for every doubling of demand, prices came down 20 percent, like clockwork. The fact that prices went up for the past four years means that there is latent capacity for significant price reductions – what we are seeing is readjustment back to the natural path.

What are the implications? First, the life of a residential solar installer just got a lot easier. The California Solar Initiative was set up with declining incentives – and those rising module costs came directly out of installer margins. If you check out the recent rebate applications, it’s apparent that the lower costs are being passed on to customers. After years of battling rising costs, these lower price points should mean a growing market.

Secondly, renewable portfolio standards are going to explode with wholesale photovoltaic contracts. California has already signed about 6 gigawatts of solar contracts – much of it with solar thermal electric technologies – for less than the market price of a combined cycle gas turbine (yep, less than brown power, you read correctly). Recently, utilities have started signing similar contracts for photovoltaic projects – check out this contract with NextLight for 230 megawatts of single-axis tracking PV, under 13 cents per kilowatt hour. I predict the response to the 2009 RPS Request for Offers in California will be flooded with similar PV applications. Since the Treasury Grant-in-lieu-of-ITC Program requires systems to break ground by 2010 in order to qualify, expect to see a lot of projects with quick on-line dates.

Thirdly, cheaper solar will throw the door wide open on new solar markets and new scales of volume.  Ask any advocate who has spent time trying to convince policymakers to establish a new solar program, and they’ll tell you that the single most important barrier is price. Lower costs will make a state’s investment in solar much more appealing.  And in the long term, approaching grid parity opens up markets without the need for incentive programs at all. That’s the holy grail, a self-sustaining solar market. For an in-depth view of what happens when solar gets within range of price-sensitive markets, check out Travis Bradford’s presentation.

Cheap solar means big solar. This, friends, is what we have been working for.


Adam Browning is co-founder and executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a non-profit organization focused on bringing solar energy into the mainstream. Since 2002, Adam has worked at the local, state and federal level to remove regulatory barriers and implement the key policies needed to bring solar to scale. He previously spent eight years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where he ran an award-winning pollution prevention program.

June 5, 2009

India’s Solar Committment

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 1:53 am
Tags: ,

The two most important countries always mentioned alongside the US when it comes to investing in clean energy and reducing emissions are China and India.  I’ve alright highlighted the possibility of a U.S. China climate deal, but what about India.  It’s true that while China is making large strides in clean energy, and it very concerned about climate change, India isn’t on par with them yet.  However, this most recent news story should show that serious steps are being taken, even if a whole lot more is needed.  India is developing plans to invest 22 billion dollars into solar energy over the next 30 years.  That is a large amount of money considering the side of India’s economy.  Keep in mind this is only solar power.  I would imagine there is even more money being invested into other low-carbon energies.  Article is pasted below…

India to invest $22bn in bid to become world solar leader

New strategy outlines mandatory use of solar technologies for government and commercial buildings

Yvonne Chan in Hong Kong, BusinessGreen03 Jun 2009

The Indian government is working on ambitious plans designed to make the country a world leader in solar energy, boasting 200GW of installed solar capacity by 2050.

A draft of the National Solar Mission strategy, which was leaked to The Hindu newspaper, revealed the government is planning to provide up to $22bn (£13bn) in state funding over the next 30 years as it attempts to build a solar industry in the country.

The strategy also sets out targets, calling for installed solar capacity to rise from the current 3MW to 20GW by 2020, and 100GW by 2030.

The proposals, which have reportedly been finalised by the federal government and are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, include tax breaks and new tariff structures for the solar energy sector.

In addition, it will mandate that rooftop solar panels are installed on government and public sector buildings, and will require all new hospitals, hotels, guest houses, nursing homes and residential complexes covering an area of 500 square meters or more to install solar water heaters.

The emerging solar lighting sector will receive a further boost, with the government proposing plans to provide access to solar-powered lighting for three million households by 2012 and invest $250m in building solar charging stations for solar lanterns that can be used in rural districts.

The strategy sets a goal of delivering solar energy at a cost that is equal to conventional grid power by 2020 and includes plans to promote commercial-scale solar thermal power plants and solar lighting and heating systems through new micro-finance schemes.

India aims to have solar energy priced the same as conventional grid power by 2020. At that time, it hopes to have one million solar rooftop systems with an average capacity of 3kW.

Work on the strategy, which forms part of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, began in June 2008, but it has reportedly faced delays as a result of governmental red tape.

May 12, 2009

The Death of Coal

I had a column out a day early on Monday about how coal’s sun is setting in America, largely thanks to a growing environmental movement.  Enjoy!

Environmentalism: The movement’s spreading

MATT DERNOGA

Issue date: 5/11/09

The coal industry has been running commercials since the presidential election joyfully touting that coal supplies 50 percent of America’s electricity. These commercials are outdated and untrue. According to the U.S. Energy Department, coal supplies 48.9 percent of America’s electricity. I’ll show you why the details matter.

Four of my closest friends are conservatives. Traditionally, support for regulating industry’s greenhouse gas emissions falls along party lines. Over the past couple years, I’ve been surprised to find three of these friends have come around to my viewpoint on this issue. Two of them lobbied with me on environmental legislation. Another referenced a column of mine in a college essay on why America needs to transition to a clean energy economy to avoid catastrophic climate change. And if I was referenced in a paper, the world really is in jeopardy.

I arrogantly assumed this shift was limited to my friends because my crazy environmentalism had rubbed off on them (and because I can blackmail them). But a snapshot from a recent poll suggests otherwise. Eighty-five percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Americans under 30 and 64 percent of Republicans support government regulation of greenhouse gases. A seemingly controversial issue is not even a close one. The most incredible number is almost two out of every three Republicans want regulation. I frequently tune into Fox News ,where commentators and news desk make it appear the planet is cooling and regulating emissions will wreck the economy. It hasn’t worked. 

This has been reflected in our energy policy. About 200 coal plants have been proposed since 2000. Since 2007, 95 of these proposals have been canceled or postponed, and nearly all of the remaining proposals are on hold. Most of this took place during a coal-happy Bush presidency. It’s not getting any prettier. In contrast, wind power grew by more than 8.5 gigawatts in 2008 and solar more than 1.2 GW – record growth during a contracting economy. The wind industry now has more jobs than the coal mining industry. For the first time in forever, the environmental movement is winning in the United States.Students at universities all around the country, including students at this one, have been on the forefront. I remember two years ago when an outgoing state senator and the director of an environmental nonprofit group came to the university to talk to 50 students about global warming. They said that some day, the state would pass a global warming bill. It seemed far off. This semester, students played a role in passing one of the strongest global warming bills in the nation right here in Maryland. Today, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will come to the university before hundreds of people for a clean energy town hall meeting. Part of the discussion will be about when the United States will pass a strong global warming bill. I see the paradigm shift in only two years. 

The details matter. They tell a different story than the commercials. The coal industry is trying to outrun the facts, but they are catching up quickly. We are witnessing the death of coal. A word for the coal industry: Coal might supply ALMOST 50 percent of America’s electricity, but your years are numbered. You are approaching zero. 

Matt Dernoga is a junior government and politics major. He can be reached at mdernoga@umd.edu

*Update 5/14/09* Here is an excellent op-ed largely supporting the % numbers and conclusion I write about above.

**Update 7/20/09** It’s now DOWN to 46.1 percent!.

**Update 8/19/09** Down to 42.6%!

April 26, 2009

Wal-Mart’s Green Path

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 2:33 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve been fascinated with how Wal-Mart, once one of the most notoriously unsustainable and labor-abusive corporations, has managed to transform both its image and it’s now its business to a more sustainable one.  On Earth Day, Wal-Mart announced that they were adding 10-20 solar arrays onto their facilities, to accompany the 18 they already have.  According to the article….”After the new solar panels are in place, the total capacity of renewable energy coming from the Walmart facilities will be 32 million kilowatt hours per year, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 22,500 metric tons, said the company.”  In addition, Walmart has the goal of eventually running on 100% renewable energy, producing zero waste, and selling sustainable products.  

I think it started when they decided to hire the ex-President of the Sierra Club to help transform the company.  The entire story of how this happened can be read here, and it’s quite incredible.  Also great is hearing from Wal-Mart’s CEO Lee Scott asking “since when is waste a business strategy?”.  

A story in the New York Times back in January took a good look at Wal-Mart’s transformation, as well as how it has helped their bottom line, and drawn other big corporations along with them into the mix.  Here are a few notable quotes from this.  I would do a more in depth look of what Wal-Mart has been doing besides solar panels, but the Times story covers it all real well.  

“By virtue of its herculean size, Wal-Mart eventually dragged much of corporate America along with it, leading mighty suppliers like General Electric and Procter & Gamble to transform their own business practices.”

“Today, the roughly 200 million customers who pass through Wal-Mart’s doors each year buy fluorescent light bulbs that use up to 75 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs, concentrated laundry detergent that uses 50 percent less water and prescription drugs that contain 50 percent less packaging.”

“It is hard to measure the financial return of a good image. But no one at Wal-Mart talks about headline risk anymore because the headlines have become largely positive.  Profits climbed to $12.7 billion in the 2008 fiscal year, from $11.2 billion in the 2006 fiscal year, while sales jumped to $375 billion, from $312.4 billion, during the same period. The percentage of employees on Wal-Mart’s health insurance plan rose to 50.2 percent, from 44 percent.”

““As businesses, we have a responsibility to society,” he said this month, speaking to members of the National Retail Federation in his last public speech as Wal-Mart chief. “Let me be clear about this point. There is no conflict between delivering value to shareholders, and helping solve bigger societal problems.”

April 21, 2009

Green Stimulus Column

A couple weeks ago, I had an idea for how to alleviate poverty, crime, and bring green jobs to College Park/Prince Georges County.  A figured it would be good to highlight an opportunity in this column to actually acquire the funding for some of my suggestions.  Additionally, I actually had to do some investigating to figure out who was doing what.  My sources are posted below my article.

Green jobs and government grants: Get what’s yours

Matt Dernoga

Issue date: 4/21/09

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a column suggesting a few measures by which Prince George’s County and local cities could invest in job-creating green initiatives. This would help alleviate poverty and reduce crime. Local governments everywhere have faced gigantic budget deficits and big spending cuts. Good ideas are nothing without a bag of cash, and I’ve got the treasure map for you.

The economic stimulus package appropriated $3.2 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. This money is being allocated to states, counties, cities, Native American tribes and U.S. territories based on population size and energy usage for state and local governments. The rule for the money is it must assist in the implementation of strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions and total energy use and improve energy efficiency. Prince George’s County is eligible for $6.6 million. College Park can grab $133,700.

The catch is the money isn’t just handed out to local governments. They have a certain amount earmarked and available to them, but they need to apply for grants detailing how they’ll use the money. Only then are they awarded the funds. In other words, someone in the government needs to know the money is there and go after it. If they don’t submit a formula grant proposal by June 25, good-bye free cash.

Fortunately, both Prince George’s County and College Park are aware of the opportunities the EECBG Program provides. The county has applied for seven grants and is considering three more. The assistant city manager is going to present a recommendation for a grant to the College Park City Council on May 5. I encourage students and residents to submit their ideas to their county and city representatives. It would be more productive than throwing a Tax Day tea party.

There’s going to be even more money available than the figures I listed above. The state has received $9.6 million from the EECBG Program. Up to 40 percent of that money could soon be made available to all counties and cities in the state to apply for with competitive grants. The other 60 percent is available to small towns with low populations, like Edmonston and Hyattsville, which didn’t get any money earmarked specifically for them. County and city governments should coordinate to get as much money as possible.

The county is working on a plan to build a solar farm at the county landfill with Pepco. This would create jobs and make the county a leader in renewable energy, but it needs money. Or consider energy-efficient overhauls of buildings, free residential and commercial energy audits, energy efficient traffic signals and street lighting and low-interest revolving door loan funds to low-income energy users for efficiency improvements.

The wish list goes on, and the money is sitting there alongside a more prosperous and sustainable future. Regardless of how you feel about the federal government’s spending, here is a case where money is available to benefit ordinary people on Main Street, not Wall Street. Go after it! X marks the spot.

Matt Dernoga is a junior government and politics major whose father serves on the Prince George’s County Council. He can be reached at mdernoga@umd.edu

———————————————————————————————–

http://www.eecbg.energy.gov/
http://www.eecbg.energy.gov/grantalloc.html
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr. Brown held a meeting on April 2, 2009 on the American 
Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) asking all cabinet 
members to work together to explore opportunities.  DER has 
applied for 7 grants and we have another 3 as possibilities 
we are looking into.  DER is also working with Housing to 
explore other opportunities together.

Charles W. Wilson
Director
Department of Environmental Resources
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi Matt:

I am preparing the application for the energy block grant, 
which is due in
June.  I'm still researching options for use of the money, 
and I will
present a recommendation to City Council at the worksession 
on May 5th.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Sara

Sara Imhulse
Assistant to the City Manager
City of College Park
4500 Knox Road
College Park, MD 20740
301-864-8667
301-699-8029 fax

March 20, 2009

Solar has 110% Growth in 2008

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 3:25 pm
Tags: , ,

There was a recent report on the status of the global solar PV industry. You can read the summary here. The growth of the solar industry is taking off! In 2006, its growth was 19%, in 2007, 62%. Now for 2008, 110%! That’s the good news. The bad news? The US is hardly partaking in this explosion of growth. We aren’t investing like we should be, and there haven’t been strong enough incentives in our country for companies. Below is a graph our market share in the PV industry(yes that line is crashing).

According to Marketbuzz, the leading manufacturers of solar cells have been China and Taiwan….

China and Taiwan continued to increase their share of global solar cell production, rising to 44% in 2008 from 35% in 2007.”
Market demand isn’t doing so hot either…

It’s very important that the US is much more aggressive and proactive in solar power. Not only because solar power is environmentally sound, but because there is a huge market out there that is currently doubling EACH YEAR, which is ridiculous. Perhaps companies like Shell(yes I know they aren’t American based, I’m just making fun of them) should read the writing on the wall and actually invest in this industry.

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