As the narrative that China has already won the the race for global domination in the clean energy sector dominates the news, a new study suggests that early reports of the demise of the U.S. solar industry may be greatly exaggerated.
The report (PDF), published last week by GTM Research, showed U.S. net exports totaled $723 million in 2009 with U.S. solar installations creating $2.6 billion in direct value to the U.S. economy. And in the context of the broader economy, U.S. trade in the solar industry was found to be more balanced than the overall economy, which had a trade deficit of $374 billion in 2009.
The area with the most domestic value creation in the solar industry came in the photovoltaic sector which claimed 81 percent of the total. The largest solar energy product export is polysilicon, the feedstock for crystalline silicon photovoltaics, of which the U.S. exported $1.1 billion in 2009.
Concentrating solar power and solar heating and cooling made up the remaining 19 percent.