Back during the energy crisis days of the 1970′s the tern “solar” was on everyone’s lips. At that time it ended up being more of a fad or novelty than a viable solution for anything.
Now in 2011, technology has improved and in light of the recent events and miscues in Japan, the world may be looking for new sources of energy very soon.
I didn’t even realize it, but solar may be now stepping to the forefront. I’ve always been a proponent of the use of solar energy, and I wondered why as our technology improved we didn’t make the development and use of solar power more of a priority.
Suffice to say, we did. Just this week in Forbes, companies like First Solar and SunPower are preparing for the onslaught that may be coming.
FirstSolar is, and has been the biggest name in the solar game for some time now. Covering every aspect of solar power from engineering to consulting and manufacturing, FirstSolar uses their own proprietary technology that powers solar modules with the help of the sun through thin semi-conductors. Their stock currently sits at an all-time high and the company cannot keep up with demand, growing 13% since the Japanese earthquake occurred.
SunPower has seen its stock rise 10 percent since March 15. The maker of silicon solar cells is expecting residential and commercial orders to skyrocket. SunPower is also making strategic acquisitions that will give them the manpower and ability to fill orders if the solar industry keeps growing at its accelerated rate.
It looks like the solar energy industry as a whole will be booming. The Solar Energy Industries Association gave a presentation last week where they divulged that industry revenues went from $3.6 billion in ’09 to $6 billion in ’10, a huge 67 percent increase in one year.
What we also learned is that even though solar energy use is on the upswing in the United States, we are falling behind other countries, especially those in Europe. Countries like Spain, Germany, and Italy are all building more solar facilities that we are. They credit tax breaks and incentives for sudden push for solar plants.
Our president and Congress should take a cue from Europe and make this a priority.
Rick Limpert covers sports, technology and politics in and around Atlanta. He’s charging his solar cells right now.