Shortages Stifle a Boom Time for the Solar Industry - New York Times: "Executives of American solar manufacturers and industry groups say the global solar market has grown roughly 40 percent annually in the last five years, driven in large part by Germany. Under an incentive program championed by that country's Green Party, German businesses and individuals with solar equipment can sell power they create to utilities at above-market rates. The utilities pass the excess cost on to their customers.
'It's giving Germans a solid 15 to 20 percent return on equity,' said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the trade group for the American solar industry. 'You're seeing a lot of companies in Germany start venture capital units based on solar farm development. People are even putting panels up on barns.'
Germany consumes 39 percent of all solar panels in the world, with Japan next at 30 percent and the United States a distant third at 9 percent.
Germany installed nearly 400 megawatts of solar power last year, Mr. Resch said, while Japan, whose government subsidizes solar energy consumption, installed nearly 300 megawatts. Americans, with far less in subsidies, installed 90 megawatts, most of it in California."