Major Manufacturers See Sunny Future for Photovoltaics

Though the United States lags behind the rest of the world in solar-power installations, major manufacturers are betting that there are opportunities for U.S. market growth. GE recently announced its purchase of AstroPower, the largest U.S. manufacturer of solar equipment, and Sharp Electronics Corporation has begun a major advertising campaign targeting California homeowners.

06/01/2004


Though the United States lags behind the rest of the world in solar-power installations, major manufacturers are betting that there are opportunities for U.S. market growth. GE recently announced its purchase of AstroPower, the largest U.S. manufacturer of solar equipment, and Sharp Electronics Corporation has begun a major advertising campaign targeting California homeowners.

Globally, photovoltaic installations total only 574 MW of generating capacity in 2003, and solar power supplies less than 1% of overall U.S. energy production, according to Solarbuzz, a San Francisco-based solar-energy consulting firm. However, annual market growth for solar equipment has averaged 24% over the last 10 years, according to a recent Electric Energy Online report.

Prior to GE's announcement, AstroPower was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings. The company is the largest U.S.-based solar-equipment manufacturer.

Sharp Electronics Corp. is the U.S.-based subsidiary of Sharp Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of solar equipment. The company's advertising campaign targets San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Sacramento and Santa Ana. It is intended to educate consumers on solar-energy basics and to direct newspaper readers to area Sharp-certified solar-equipment dealers.





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