Reading the news in the morning frequently makes me want to go back to sleep for the next decade and hibernate through the stock market crashes, endless conflict in the Middle East and the ever present high unemployment rate. But, amidst all these dark clouds are a few exciting rays of sunshine.
Policymakers and businesses are finally starting to recognize that one of the best ways to get our economy back on track is to turn the much acclaimed green economy into reality. As I wrote in a previous post, the U.S. has spent too much time investing in correctional facilities and wars instead of building infrastructure for a bettter future through clean energy and public transit. This choice has come at an obvious cost to many industries. For example, the U.S. has fallen from dominating the world solar manufacturing market at 43% of market share in 1995 to a miserly 7 percent in 2011.
Recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the SUNPATH program which will invest $50 million over two years to advance domestic solar manufacturing. This announcement follows closely on the heels of an announcement to to award over $6 million for clean energy projects on tribal lands–allowing tribal communities to save money and promote economic development through clean energy technologies.
The private sector has also had its share of $$ for solar with GM Ventures announcing an initiative to invest $7.5 million in Sunlogics PLC, a global company that specializes in solar project development and installation. This initiative will further strengthen GM’s position as the leading user of renewable energy in the automotive sector.
In case you aren’t totally convinced that all these solar $$ are taking America where we need to go, check out this awesome infographic put together by our friends at 1BOG showing how many jobs solar could create in each state if the incentives were correctly aligned.