USA: GoSolar at SEIA’s Birthday

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has just celebrated “four decades of successful advocacy”. On 24 January 1974, “five industry people met in the noisy basement of the Washington Hilton hotel to discuss the possibility of establishing an association for the nascent solar energy industry,” recalls a text on the organisation´s website. Therefore, SEIA organised an official birthday event on Friday 24 January 2014, exactly forty years later, and initiated a national Shout Out for Solar Day on this very anniversary. The banner is a screenshot from the campaign website: americasupportssolar.org/dev/
 
The Shout out for Solar Day has kick-started a new campaign focusing on social media. People were asked to post a photo of themselves together with the sign “I support solar” on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Different GoSolar print signs had been available for download on the SEIA website.
 
America Supports Solar campaign
The new campaign called America Supports Solar is thought to “highlight solar´s explosive growth across the United States, as well as its record-shattering year in 2013,” according to a blog entry from Rhone Resch, President and CEO of SEIA, at 16 January. When adding up the numbers from the different solar sectors (photovoltaics, solar thermal and CSP), the US solar industry employs nearly 120,000 Americans at more than 6,100 American companies. 
 
“We do include solar heating and cooling within the material, and try to keep things Solar with a capital S,” Katherine Stainken from SEIA’s Solar Thermal Division confirms. However, the success story of 2013 is more a success story of photovoltaics and CSP. According to the regular surveys by SEIA and US-American consultancy GTM Research, 2013’s new PV installations are said to add an energy output of 4.3 GWp, which represents a 27% growth over 2012 installation totals. CSP will also have a record year in 2013, with 800 MW having been expected to be commissioned by year's end. It’s estimated that the U.S. now has 13 GW of installed solar capacity, which is enough to cover the demand of more than 2 million US-American homes.
 
US solar’s long road ahead
Solar heating and cooling cannot provide the same record numbers because of the simple fact that there are no regular statistics for new solar thermal installations. As in 2012, the number of solar thermal suppliers responding to the market survey in 2013 was too low to represent an adequate sample for market volume estimates. According to OEM material suppliers which know the business situation of several collector-producing companies, the solar heating and cooling market was rather stagnating than growing in 2013. This should motivate SEIA’s members even more to “shout out” for solar thermal solutions, as their cost-effectiveness is clearly indicated on the campaign page:
“SEIA will keep the message about the success story solar in the public throughout the year by also holding a series of events related to the anniversary,” Ken Johnson, Vice President of Communications at SEIA, announces.
 
Pages to join social media campaign America Supports Solar:
 

 

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