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World Solar Photovoltaic Market Grew to 6GW in 2008

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World solar photovoltaic (PV) market installations reached a record high of 5.95 gigawatts (GW) in 2008, representing growth of 110% over the previous year.

So says solarbuzz.com in the introduction of their annual world solar photovoltaic industry report.  What portion of that capacity does the U.S. contribute?  A whopping 0.36GW.  You can look at a “positive”: the U.S. has the third largest share of any country.  But we’re a long, long ways back from the #1 and #2 countries.  Germany comes in at #2 with 1.86GW of solar PV, or nearly 6 times as much as the U.S.

Who is number one?  Spain.  Spain has 2.46GW of solar PV installations.  Their market share grew by 285% in the last year to help them surpass Germany.  The U.S. grew, but not nearly at this rate.  To really highlight how weak U.S. efforts are, South Korea came in at #4 with 0.28GW.

It’s a good thing those other industrialized countries don’t believe in the kind of unregulated capitalism and are squadering their money on stupid things like renewable energy resources.  After all, why would the U.S. want any of the $37.1 billion the PV industry generated in global revenues in 2008?  According to the fossil fuel industry, renewables will never be major market forces.  Nobody should waste their time on such things.  Well, too many powerful people in the U.S. bought into such talk.   America developed large-scale PV technologies years ago – a product of our world-class education system and research infrastructure.  With industry’s focus on quarter-by-quarter profits above all else, the rest of the industrialized and some of the developing world have taken the mantle of solar PV manufacturing and installation away from the country that worked so hard to introduce the technology in the first place.

The good news is there are plenty of grassroots-level Americans that have gone against the flow in the country.  A growing number of people will help build the solar PV industry up to its capabilities.  We’re behind the count, but we can still come out ahead in the next few years with more attention and effort.

[h/t Climate Progress]

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