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Report Proposes Aggressive Plan to Regain U.S. Leadership in Multi-Billion Dollar Solar PV Market

Solar Catalyst Group Outlines Ten-Year Public-Private Partnership to Create Jobs, Economic Opportunity, and Energy Security

March 1, 2005

Washington D.C./San Francisco, Calif. – A new report, by Co-op America’s Solar Catalyst Group and Clean Edge, Inc., proposes a three-pronged federal program to regain American leadership in the high-growth global solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. If enacted, the plan would create up to 580,000 new American jobs and generate up to 9 percent of the country’s total electricity needs by 2025, the equivalent of serving over 48 million American homes with secure, safe, clean energy.

The Solar High-Impact National Energy (SHINE) Project, unveiled today, offers a “man on the moon” vision to rapidly and dramatically transform solar energy into a job-creating, energy-security-enhancing domestic energy source. The report outlines a ten-year plan to aggressively push solar PV over the tipping point -- making solar cost-effective for businesses, homeowners, industry, and utilities far faster than current, business-as-usual trends.

SHINE’s programs include:

  • Solar Utilization National Underwriting Plan (SUNUP): an innovative federal block-grant program, providing matching funds to states to implement solar installation programs;
  • U.S. Rooftop Initiative for Solar Energy (U.S. RISE): an aggressive federal commitment to purchase solar systems for government facilities and operations; and
  • American Solar Advancement Prize (ASAP): a high-stakes/high-reward competition to develop and deploy new solar technologies and systems that could dramatically reduce costs.

"SHINE outlines an energy- and economic-security plan that will help protect America from the staggering human and economic costs that we suffer when our energy supply gets disrupted from conflict, accidents, supply constraints, or acts of malice,” said Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director of Co-op America. “ The SHINE plan catalyzes American entrepreneurs and business to regain dominance in the fast-growing solar PV market, overcome critical climate change issues, and create jobs and economic prosperity -- all without burdensome regulation, global treaties, or any new costs to federal taxpayers.”

In total, SHINE would cost the federal government less than $5 billion over ten years, an investment that would be paid through energy savings and a small shift in government energy investments, making SHINE revenue-neutral. By 2025, SHINE would result in up to 280,000 megawatts of grid-connected solar PV installations (enough power to supply up to 9 percent of total estimated U.S. electricity needs – the equivalent of serving over 48 million households) and create hundreds of thousands of high-tech jobs spread across all 50 U.S. states.

To put this energy-security and job-creation investment into perspective, a national shift of less than 5 cents for every tax dollar currently invested in mature industries like nuclear, coal, and natural gas would fully fund SHINE. And long-term cost savings would provide positive net benefits to the U.S. treasury for years to come.

“SHINE will enable the U.S. to play a leadership role in clean-energy technology development rather than ceding yet another industry to Europe and Asia,” explains Ron Pernick, co-author of the report and co-founder of Clean Edge, Inc. “The report outlines a blend of market and capital forces, nudged by a small initial government investment, to produce significant economic, environmental, and social returns.”

SHINE's programs reduce the price of solar far faster than would take place under business as usual, thereby creating mass markets for solar PV decades sooner than they would otherwise develop. Within ten years, SHINE would reduce prices to $2.50 a watt or less (compared to more than $6 per watt today), the price at which solar becomes affordable for most retail electricity customers. By 2025, SHINE’s programs would reduce prices to as low as 80 cents per installed watt, compared to about $2.70 for the business-as-usual case -- a dramatic difference that would make solar cost-competitive with coal, natural gas, and other more polluting energy sources for nearly every application – from residential and commercial rooftops to utilities and hydrogen infrastructure applications.

The report is available for free download at and

About Co-op America’s Solar Catalyst Group

The Solar Catalyst Group is a nonprofit consortium of business, government, investors, labor, environmental and community groups, and individuals working to catalyze the solar energy portion of a renewable energy future by creating a mass market for solar PV. Its mission is to “harness market forces to dramatically lower the price and accelerate the growth and development of solar energy around the world in a way that aligns energy needs with sound business practices, economic development, environmental protection, and social equity.” The Solar Catalyst Group is a project of Co-op America Foundation (, the national nonprofit dedicated to using marketplace solutions to solve social and environmental problems.

About Clean Edge, Inc.

Clean Edge, Inc., ( is a leading research and publishing firm that helps companies, investors, and policymakers understand and profit from clean-energy technologies. Through its customized research and reports, online services, co-sponsored conferences and events, and strategic marketing services, the company is devoted to tracking and analyzing clean-energy market trends and opportunities. Founded in 2000, Clean Edge and its network of partners and affiliates offer unparalleled insight and intelligence for a range of clean-tech stakeholders .

For more information contact:

Ron Pernick

Alisa Gravitz

Co-Founder and Principal
Clean Edge, Inc

Executive Director
Co-op America Foundation;



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