Solar continues to Shine Bright in SEIA’s 2009 Year in Review Once again, we are seeing proof that an economic recession can’t stop the sun from shining in, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). They recently released the 2009 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review, which reports on the health of the solar industry. They found that the U.S. solar industry experienced significant growth last year. Overall, the U.S. experienced a 36% improvement over last year. We are ranked 4th in new solar capacity worldwide with industry growth totaling nearly $4 billion. This 37% increase was mainly the result of an ever increasing demand for residential PV installation and utility-scale installations

"Building off the successes of 2009, we expect 2010 to be a breakout year for the U.S. solar industry," said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. "The right policies and industry innovation continue to drive solar's growth across America. Now we're talking gigawatts of solar, not megawatts."

Highlights for 2009 include:

Growth in added solar electric and solar thermal capacity

· Solar electric capacity growth (including both photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies) for 2009 was 37 % more than 2008.

· Solar water heating grew by 10 % over 2008.

Jobs and revenue

· The solar industry contributed to the overall economy by adding 17,000 new jobs.

· Solar industry today supports 46,000 U.S. jobs and supports an additional 33,000 jobs in other sectors.

· Growth in the industry resulted in a 36 % increase in overall revenue, totaling nearly $4 billion.

Capacity by market segment

· Residential grid-tied PV solar installations showed particularly strong growth, doubling from 78 megawatts to 156 megawatts.

· Non-residential grid-tied PV solar installations grew 2 percent less than in 2008.

· The utility market saw notable growth, with utilities tripling their rate of grid-tied PV capacity additions from 22 megawatts to 66 megawatts.

· California has continued to lead the way using 220 mW in solar energy capacity, with Arizona  ranked 4th using 23 mW, behind New Jersey (57 mW), and Florida (36 mW).

Good news for solar means good news for the economy, as well. As more homeowners install solar power, more jobs are created. For every six homes that go solar, one local green job is created. By the end of the year, the U.S. is expected to have 60,000 solar supported jobs. The growth of the solar power market is closely connected to our economic health as a country.