Despite the economic downturn of 2009, the U.S. Solar Industry reported tremendous growth and stability; a trend that many experts predict will carry over throughout 2010. According the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the right policies and new innovation within the industry will continue to stimulate the solar market’s continued growth across the country in coming months.
In addition to its positive impact on the environment as the cleanest, and most abundant renewable source of energy, the use of solar energy also positively contributed to the economy. As reported by the SEIA, the growth of the solar industry added 17,000 new jobs from coast to coast, and today employs approximately 46,000 U.S. workers. As the cost of photovoltaic panels used in solar installation decline and federal tax credits, grants and incentives rise, now more than ever, is the time to harness the power of solar into our building practices.
So who are these influencers stimulating solar growth? Following is a sampling of solar power companies to watch – they’ve started small but they’re growing and making inroads for the renewable energy market along the way.
- SolarCity – With it’s all-in-one solar offering, SolarCity works with businesses and homeowners alike to design, install, monitor and even finance their switch to clean energy. SolarCity prides themselves on making it easier and more affordable for anyone to use renewable solar energy for less than the cost of many cell phone plans.
- ZepSolar – As the old saying goes, “time is money”, and ZepSolar has found a way to not only save time and money, but resources, materials and space when it comes to the use of solar power. The patented Zep System dramatically reduces installation time with its specialized slot in the PV frame that enables the rapid coupling and automatic grounding of solar modules. Watch their demo video to see for yourself how ZepSolar is optimizing the efficiency of solar today.
- DirectGrid Technologies – DirectGrid recognized shortcomings among microinverters in the PV market, which led to the development of their leading-edge solar micro-inverters for residential and commercial PV applications. Their microinverter offerings are grid-tied, designed to bring the benefits of PV savings to residential and light commercial users. All are designed to target silicon thin-film PV modules, a cost effective solution known to increase micro-inverter reliability and efficiency.
- 1366 Technologies – 1366’s mission is to make the cost of solar power competitive with coal power, and they believe to have found the solution through one of the most abundant elements on earth, Silicon. 1366 has invented a new, and far cheaper method that reduces the waste of Silicon that commonly occurs in during solar cell manufacturing. Rather than make its own solar cells in the short term, 1366 plans to sell equipment to existing manufacturers around the world in hopes that others will adopt its technology quickly. Keep an eye out in the near future, as 1366 starts manufacturing solar cells on its own through their innovative solar wafer making process.
- SoloPower – Another new key player in the solar market is SoloPower. The San Jose based company worked with 3M to develop a flexible CIGS (copper-indium-gallium-selenide) photovoltaic module that includes the 3M™ Ultra Barrier system, designed to provide protection against the elements for longer periods of time. The flexible CIGS modules represent a breakthrough solar product in the market and will be deployable with lower installation costs, providing less expensive solar electricity for utility, commercial and industrial customers. Be on the look out for SoloPower’s new modules, which are expected to be available for sale later in 2010.