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Sunny forecast for solar power

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TESS VIGELAND: On the summer solstice yesterday, Sanyo announced plans to triple its sales of solar panels by 2010. Rachel Dornhelm reports there was also big stateside news on the solar front.


RACHEL DORNHELM: Silicon Valley company Nanosolar announced it is building the world’s largest factory for solar power cells right in Northern California.

Since first developing solar technology, the United States has trailed Japan and Europe in its production. But now Nanosolar, started with money from Google’s founders, is expected to almost triple US solar output.

Solar is an $11 billion industry.

Clean energy analyst Joel Makower says in the next 10 years it will jump to $50 billion.

JOEL MAKOWER: We’ve been waiting for this moment in solar where the volume ramps up and so instead of being a low-volume, high-price boutique energy supply, it’s a high-volume, low-price mainstream commodity.

Makower says it makes sense for Nanosolar to put its factory in California. 80 percent of the country’s solar installations are in the Golden State. The other big cluster, at 10 percent, is in New Jersey.

I’m Rachel Dornhelm for Marketplace.

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