Solar An Economic Bright Spot In US

The United States domestic solar industry continues to be a bright spot in an otherwise down economy, according to a recent report by Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.

The US solar power industry, according to the report, was a global net exporter last year. U.S. solar firms achieved a positive trade flow of $1.9 billion. Photovoltaic (PV) components accounted for more than 99 percent of the year’s exports, with solar heating and cooling claiming the remainder of the positive balance.

solar install

image via DIA

For the U.S. PV manufacturing industry, 2010 was a record year. Exports totaled more than $5.6 billion, with PV poly-silicon feedstock and capital equipment leading all components at $2.5 billion and $1.4 billion respectively. The leading destinations for U.S.-sourced PV components were China and Germany. Meanwhile, U.S. imports of PV products totaled $3.7 billion, the majority of which ($2.4 billion) came from procurement of modules assembled overseas. China and Mexico were the top two sources of PV goods headed to the U.S. in 2010.

The report goes on to state that the solar industry provides plenty of value to the US economy outside of PV manufacturing. Site preparation, labor, permitting, financing and other industry ‘soft costs’ comprised nearly 50 percent of total solar revenue in 2010. The report found $4.4 billion of domestic revenue accrued last year from U.S. solar installations. This domestic value originated from both local and foreign firms employing U.S. resources on the ground for solar goods and services.

According to the report, for every dollar spent on a U.S. solar installation in 2010, $0.75 accrued to the U.S.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.


  • Reply September 11, 2011

    Racine Madalosso

    Good job!

  • Reply September 13, 2011


    Clean energy is also generating a lot of jobs–good jobs. Check out my recent blog post:u00a0

  • Reply October 15, 2011


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