'Rooftop Revolution': Why It's Time to Join the Solar Boom
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Worldwide the solar industry is also taking off in a big way: China enjoyed such a burst of solar power that it recalibrated the target in its twelfth five-year plan to 15 gigawatts installed by 2015—50 percent higher than the previous target and 50 percent more than we expect to have in the United States.
The big surprise to me personally, as someone in the solar business, is that China caught up to the United States in installed solar panels in 2011, which I had not expected to happen for years. Five years earlier there were almost none in all of China—and the United States had a 50-year head start.
On the subcontinent, Pakistan has passed the point where solar power is cheaper than a lot of electricity that comes from diesel generators, and India is upping its target from 20 to 33 gigawatts to be installed by 2020.
Germany produced more than 18 billion kilowatt-hours of solar electricity in 2011. That’s 60 percent more than it produced the year before and is enough to supply 5 million households for a year. In December 2011 the country installed 3 gigawatts of solar panels in just one month—enough capacity to power 600,000 homes!
By any measure, the world is experiencing a solar boom. Momentum is building, and we have to keep it going for the benefit of our economy and our planet’s longevity. To do that we have to combat Dirty Energy’s efforts with our own, and the time is now.
Danny Kennedy is a global authority on environmental issues and a successful clean-tech entrepreneur. In 2007 Kennedy founded Sungevity Inc., which has become a leading residential solar-power company. He serves as Sungevity’s president and oversees government relations and community engagement programs.