That figure is 100.000.
If you listened to people like S&L and others you would think it had all collapsed.
20, 2011 AT 08:01 AM PDT
US Solar Industry Employs 100,000, a Growth of 6.8% Over Last Year.
While the bankruptcies at Solyndra and Evergreen are sad, as a whole, the US solar industry is largely, healthy and still growing, despite global price and trade wars. Shakeouts in rapidly growing new industries are not unusual. Brian Merchant, reports in Treehugger, that U.S. Solar Industry Now Employs 100,000 People, Grew 6.8% Since August 2010 I don't mean to ignore the possible need for a US industrial policy to help protect the solar industry from unfair international competition, especially from China. After inventing most of the technology, and leading the way in research and development, the US now has only 7% of the global market share of the rapidly growing and vital solar photovoltaic industry.
Don't let the Solyndra talk fool you: The clean energy sector is still booming. ... In fact, renewable energy remains one of the few sectors to see consistent growth over the last couple years.
A new report highlights that health, revealing that the solar industry employs over 100,000 people, and added over 6,700 jobs in the last 12 months alone.
•"As of August 2011, there are 100,237 solar workers in the U.S. in all 50 states.
•Across the solar supply chain, from installers to balance of system (BOS) manufacturers, to yes, even solar PV manufacturers, that's a 6.8% growth rate since August 2010.
•In terms of exact numbers, there were net 6,735 new solar jobs created since August 2010.
While the failure of Solyndra and Evergreen are troubling, the reasons are complicated, so we should be cautious of the conclusions we draw. Part of the extra challenge that US producers face is that China has targeted dominance of the emerging solar industry as a top national economic goal, in the same way the Japanese targeted auto, consumer electronics, and computers industries in the 1950 and 60s.
Large government subsidies tied with an aggressive low-cost producer strategy enabled the Chinese to drop prices for solar voltaic by 42% percent this year, after over 50% in the previous 2 years.
Solyndra's technology promised lower cost in the long-term, based on a new copper indium gallium selenide, CIGS, technology, however trying to ramp up new technology R+D prototypes during an industry price war and global trade war proved too challenging. They did not expect the prices to fall 42% this year so far, and 50% in the previous two years when making their business plans.
Other companies, are still trying to gain competitive advantage with the new CIGS approaches, and may succeed.
In Analysis: Solar startups plough ahead despite Solyndra, Nicholas Groom reports that industry experts suggest that the CIGS technology used by Solyndra still has price advantages, new entrants may be able to exploit. The challenge is not the technology but their ability to raise capital at a time when poly-silicon manufacturers are aggressively cutting prices, 42% in this last year, and especially those manufacturers based in China.
While the thin film panels using CIGS, or copper indium gallium selenide, have been slow to penetrate the market, one maker, Heliovolt, got a boost on Monday when it announced that South Korea's SK Group would make a $50 million investment to help commercialize its technology.
Last month, Solyndra succumbed to industry pressure -- saying it could not get its costs down quickly enough to compete with Chinese rivals and had failed to secure additional funding. It filed for bankruptcy a few days later. ...
CIGS solar panels have long been seen as potential challengers to traditional silicon-based panels because they cost less to manufacture and have the potential to generate close to as much electricity from the sun's light. ...
Nanosolar, which has raised about $400 million in venture funding, said its manufacturing costs will be below $1 per watt next year. That compares with manufacturing costs of about $1.10 for the lowest-cost silicon manufacturers, but is still well above the 75 cents a watt of industry cost leader First Solar Inc, which uses cadmium telluride in its panels.