The solar industry is wrapping up its most successful year ever. Solar is now the fastest growing energy industry in the U.S., employing nearly 100,000 Americans and generating billions of dollars of economic growth for our economy.
While solar grew in 2010, fossil fuel companies continued to show why their dirty energy is no longer practical to power our nation. In April, at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, the coal industry suffered its worst mining accident in 40 years. Just one month later, the oil industry caused the worst spill in U.S. history, jeopardizing the ecosystem and economy of the entire Gulf region.
The solar industry, on the other hand, is on pace for a record year, installing enough clean, reliable solar energy to power more than 200,000 homes. This growth was highlighted last week when the Obama Administration announced that it would return solar to the White House.
The solar industry’s gains continued with last week’s announcement by the Department of the Interior that it will issue permits allowing the first utility-scale solar project on federal land. This is a significant milestone for solar. Over the last two decades, 74,000 permits have been approved for oil and gas drilling on public lands. And up until last week solar had received zero.
Over the next five years, our industry will see an aggressive expansion in both capacity and revenue. By 2015, the industry aims to install enough new solar electric capacity across the nation every year to power 2 million homes, making solar America’s number one source of newly installed energy capacity.
Think about that – that’s enough new solar capacity to replace 10 coal plants each and every year. We can install so much solar energy that we will eliminate the need for any new coal or nuclear power plants in the U.S. ever again.
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