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Solar Industry Headed for Sunny Skies in 2010 but Obstacles Remain

SolarGrowthU.S. solar executives expect significant growth for their businesses in 2010 and 2011, according to results from the 2009 U.S. Solar Industry Monitor survey. Over 90 percent of respondents forecast growth over the next two years.

Almost 38 percent of respondents expect a growth rate of more than 25 percent in 2010, while 55 percent anticipate the same growth rate in 2011, according to the survey.

The 2009 U.S. Solar Industry Monitor is an opinion poll of nearly 100 professionals in the solar industry conducted by Droege & Comp., an international management consultancy, and Gibbs & Soell, an independent global public relations firm. Click here (PDF) for a summary of the report.

The survey also finds that the majority of respondents (64.9 percent) indicate the recession has not had a crushing impact on the U.S. solar industry, which has dealt with economic challenges in a positive manner. However, 64.9 percent of respondents also believe the government has not done enough to improve the economic climate of the solar industry.

Respondents also indicate that more favorable legislation and heightened marketing will be critical to expansion over the next two years. To create demand in the coming year, 82.9 percent report that sales and marketing communications will be stepped up. The report cited increased communication as a strategic priority with references to a variety of traditional, digital and social media techniques and platforms.

The survey also reveals that there are still key obstacles to growth such as the lack of financing (81.8 percent), little support from utilities (62.9 percent), lack of customer knowledge (61.3 percent), and insufficient level of incentives (59.1 percent).

In anticipation of strong demand and tough competition in 2010 and 2011, 60.2 percent of respondents said they will boost their U.S. supply. Approximately half of those polled will increase their assembly/production, while 38.6 percent will expand market share via transactions such as joint ventures, mergers or acquisitions.

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