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Solar Energy in the United States

in the United States

November 15, 2011
Written by: Janet Doré, The Doré Group (San Diego, CA)

The U.S. solar power industry is teeming with activity and is expected to see a significant growth in revenues in the next several years. IBISWorld, the world’s largest independent publisher of U.S. industry research, ranked the solar industry as one of the top ten industries between 2000 and 2016. Growth has been fueled by sizable government incentives, as well as new legislation requiring states to obtain a minimum portion of their energy from renewable resources. In California, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed legislation requiring that 33% of the state’s energy must be from “green” sources. Nearly two-thirds of states have enacted similar legislation. This governmental assistance is enabling the solar industry to compete with established, and less expensive, forms of energy generation. 


(Source: “Sunny Days for Solar Power in the United States”, American Bankers Association – Justin Molavi, Industry Analyst, IBISWorld Inc.)

The following are some of the existing operational solar energy facilities in the U.S.:

  • Solar Energy Generating Systems (354 megawatts – Blythe, California)
  • Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center (75 MW – Florida)
  • Nevada Solar One (64 MW – Boulder City, Nevada)
  • Copper Mountain Solar Facility (48 MW – Boulder City, Nevada)
  • DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center (25 MW – DeSoto County, Florida)

In order to satisfy increasing demand for renewable energy, there are numerous large capacity facilities currently in the planning or construction stages including, but not limited to, the following plants:

  • Blythe Solar Power Project (500 MW – Riverside County)
  • Topaz Solar Farm (550 MW – northwest of California Valley)
  • Desert Stateline (300 MW)
  • Antelope Valley Solar Ranch (230 MW – western Mojave Desert, California)
  • Solaren (200 MW – space-based)
  • Ivanpah Solar Power Facility (392 MW – Southeast California)
  • Solana Generating Station (280 MW – West of Gila Bend, Arizona)
  • Genesis Solar Energy (250 MW – Riverside County, California)
  • Mojave Solar Park (553 MW – Mojave Desert, California)
  • Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project (110 MW – Nye County, Nevada)
  • Palen Solar Power Project (484 MW – Riverside County, California)
  • Sonoran Solar Project (350 MW – Maricopa County, Arizona)
  • Hualapai Valley Solar Project (340 MW – Mojave County, Arizona)
  • Beacon Solar Energy Project (250 MW – San Bernardino County, California)
  • Harper Lake Solar (250 MW – San Bernardino County, California)
  • Rice Solar Energy Project (150 MW – Riverside County, California)
  • Crossroads Solar Energy Project (150 MW – Maricopa County, Arizona)
  • San Joaquin Solar 1&2 (107 MW – Fresno County, California)
  • Calico Solar Energy Project 9100 MW – San Bernardino County, California)

In order to satisfy the increased demand for solar cells and modules resulting from this sizable increase in solar plants, construction of solar energy manufacturing facilities is also increasing.

According to IBISWorld, the key external factors driving the solar industry are: 1) tax credits for energy efficiency; 2) demand for electricity; 3) pricing of semiconductor and electronic components; and 4) competition from energy substitutes.

IBISWorld rates the solar industry as follows:

  • Life Cycle Stage: Growth
  • Revenue Volatility: High
  • Capital Intensity: High
  • Regulation Level: Heavy
  • Governmental Industry Assistance: High
  • Technology Change: Medium
  • Barriers to Entry: High
  • Industry Globalization: Medium
  • Competition Level: Medium

Without government subsidies, the solar industry would be in peril. To address this issue, the North American solar industry is focusing its efforts on reducing the cost of solar energy production in order to compete with the established energy resources should government subsidies cease.

Today solar-generated electricity comprises less than 0.2 percent of the nation’s total output creating the potential for tremendous growth. The outlook for the industry is positive assuming continued government assistance at least through 2016, increasing state mandates for renewable energy, the improving U.S. economy, and the continued movement toward green energy. Projections are for an average annual growth in industry revenue of 7.9% through 2016.


Related Links:
“10 Industries That Are Growing The Fastest” (The Street)
US Department of Energy
American Solar Energy Society
Solar Energy Industries Association

“LA utility says new solar plant ahead of schedule”San Diego Daily Transcript
“Mojave Solar”San Diego Daily Transcript

“Solar maker to hire 450 in SD”San Diego Union-Tribune
“French solar panel maker opens San Diego factory”San Diego Union-Tribune
“Brown promotes solar energy while lighting menorah”San Diego Union-Tribune
“Power plant closures to cost US towns jobs, taxes”San Diego Union-Tribune
“Interior backs solar, wind farms in Calif., Ariz.”San Diego Union-Tribune
“Google buys into California solar plants”San Diego Union-Tribune
“Governor Brown signs expanded renewable energy agreement with feds”
Sacramento Bee
“Sempra solar project in Arizona producing electricity as construction continues”
San Diego Daily Transcript
“Sempra affiliate expands solar portfolio”San Diego Union Tribune
“BLM seeks competitive leasing for solar, wind”San Diego Union Tribune
“SDG&E offers new solar options” – San Diego Union-Tribune
“Regulators nix new charge on solar customers”San Diego Union-Tribune
“San Diego leads state in rooftop solar”San Diego Union-Tribune

With more than 28 years of experience in real estate valuation and consulting, The Doré Group’s skilled and proactive team has the expertise to handle the most complex of assignments. This complimentary article is just one of the many ways we strive to assist our clients in navigating the real estate industry. We also welcome you to submit a personal query via our website or email our founder, Lance W. Doré,  MAI, FRICS, directly:

Submit Personal Query
Email Lance W. Doré,  MAI, FRICS

(Note that in the United States, appraisal assignments are required to satisfy the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice [USPAP]. Therefore, we reserve the right to defer certain requests based our adherence to federal standards and industry ethics.) 

The Doré Group Designated as ‘On Call Appraisal Specialist’ for California High Speed Rail Contract

In the Fall of 2008, California’s progressive voters approved a $10 billion bond to construct the first phase of a $40 billion high speed rail system. No other state in the nation has dedicated this much money toward high speed rail transportation. The state-of-the-art system, which is slated for completion within the next two to three decades, will eventually span 800 miles and connect major metropolitan hubs and airports throughout the state making it one of the largest infrastructure systems in the world. Finally, the United States will catch up with the rest of the world’s industrialized nations, which all have such systems in operation. The first connection will be between San Francisco and Los Angeles with passengers being transported through the San Joaquin Valley in just under 2-1/2 hours at speeds up to 220 miles per hour.

The development of the high speed rail system will relieve the state’s already strained highways and airports from the additional demand stemming from a burgeoning population. Projections are for a 30% increase by 2030. The California High Speed Rail Authority contends that the rail system will cost the state two to three times less than expanding freeways and airports. Not only will the capacity of the state’s transportation system be better able to serve the population, but the local economy will receive a much needed boost due to the creation of thousands of jobs and the greater ease of movement of California residents.

Surprisingly, the environmental impact report of this massive project did not encounter any significant opposition from any major California environmental organizations. This is primarily due to placement of proposed routes within existing transit corridors and a concerted effort to avoid environmentally sensitive areas. Nevertheless, several national groups, such as the Sierra Club, express doubt about the reliability of the state’s environmental study. The actual system will be all electric and is designed to reduce pollution and the state’s reliance on foreign oil.

The California High Speed Rail Authority is responsible for designing, constructing, and eventually operating the rail system. They awarded a contract to JV Partners to study and design the routes through Central California (from Fresno to Palmdale). JV Partners subcontracted with Bender Rosenthal, Inc., a commercial and right-of-way valuation group based in Sacramento, to obtain right-of-entry permits from property owners along the study route. Bender Rosenthal solicited bids to provide “On Call Appraisal Review”, “On Call Appraisal”, and “On Call Specialty Appraisal” services to facilitate this process. After receiving an “incredible response” to their RFP solicitation, Bender Rosenthal recently announced their short list of approved vendors. The Doré Group is proud to be one of 39 companies to be included in the selective group of experienced “On Call Appraisal” professionals. Beginning this fall, and extending through mid-year 2012, all of the selected firms will work closely with Bender Rosenthal in the complex planning phase of the high speed rail system.

Click HERE to take a virtual ride on the train …

“Jerry Brown vows to push forward with high speed rail”  Sacramento Bee
“High-speed rail project racks up PR costs”San Diego Union-Tribune
“High-speed rail officials concede jobs inflated”San Diego Union-Tribune
“Brown’s high-speed rail endorsement draws fire, praise”San Diego Union-Tribune
“Governor: Construction On Calif. High Speed Rail To Begin In 2012”

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