Solar by the Numbers, Take 1

I’m looking for a good, basic set of figures to provide an overview of the major alternative energy sectors. So far I haven’t found anything I like. So I’m exploring the data sources and am playing with compiling my own set. Today I’ve pulled together a few figures from the Energy Information Administration on the solar sector in the U.S. (I had a question on a figure and called their number and a helpful fellow answered on the second ring. He said they are moving to a voice menu soon, though.)

The first figures are on electric capacity. According to the EAI data, solar capacity hardly grew between 2003 and 2006 and then spiked in 2007. Capacity is generally expected to expand briskly in the coming years.

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It’s important to note that solar accounted for just .05% of US electric generating capacity in 2007.

The second set of figures are for electric power generation.

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Solar/photovoltaic power accounted for just .17% of the US total in 2007.

Given all the hoopla about alternative energy, it’s striking to see how insignificant an energy source solar has been–until recently.

Now, if you have a favor source of numbers, I’d appreciate it if you left a comment pointing us to it. Otherwise, I’ll continue work on my cheat sheet for solar and the rest.

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