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    Not So Sunny Solar Power Forecast

    National solar power study forecasts meager growth in Texas

    In the last decade or so, energy has gone from being a ho-hum industry where nothing ever changes to being front page news - outside of Texas. Not since the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s has the energy stirred such emotions - outside of Texas. Within Texas, of course, energy has been front and center for more than a century (Spindletop's oil was discovered January 10, 1901).

    Energy's bandwagon fans are hard at work these days trying to make the economic case for any and all sorts of energy feed stocks, except oil and gas. The latest study comes from the Solar Energy Research & Education Foundation (SEREF), a 501(c)(3) run by the Solar Energy Industries Association, that commissioned an 8-year study to look into solar energy's impact on the economy. The big conclusions:

    ...[T]he solar industry will create 440,000 permanent jobs, and capture more than $230 billion in new investment by 2016 with passage of an 8-year solar investment tax credit (ITC) by Congress. The report also found that an 8-year extension of the ITC would triple solar energy production from 9,000 to 28,000 gigawatts by 2016.
    Texas' share of this bonanza... 0.227%. Yes, that decimal is in the right place. According to the report, other states will do far better, e.g., Florida should add 22,000 jobs and New Jersey 10,000.

    The foundation does provide some pretty nifty visuals, including a U.S. solar jobs map in Google Earth (requires download of a free Google Earth viewer) and state-by-state analyses of potential job creation. Texas' fact sheet can be downloaded from here as a PDF, and includes 17 manufacturers, 128 installers and project developers, and 7 organizations. .:.


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