SOLAR CIRCLE

GOAL: Grow solar industry to produce 50% of all energy by 2050.


Overview

Launched in 2002 and still operating today, Solar Circle has catalyzed the U.S. solar industry from a small, highly fragmented market producing less than 1,000 MW to a powerful industry that’s now forecasted to account for 50% of U.S. production by 2030, 20 years ahead of schedule.   Over twenty different constituencies in the solar value chain have come together including manufacturers, installers, designers, consumer advocates, technical experts, and policy leaders.


Status

In 2002, the global solar industry suffered from low market share due to the high cost of solar photovoltaics, industry infighting, and a severe lack of capital and R&D support.  That year, we launched the Solar Circle network to dramatically increase the market share of solar.  Over the next several years, Solar Circle participants, 

  • Engineered the merger and policy alignment of the then-four industry trade associations into two

  • Developed several economic impact analyses of a successful U.S. solar industry that resulted in federal research support and incentives (the initial research was released by one of the Solar Circle members through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

  • Solved a key silicon supply challenge by initiating the country’s first silicon production facility focused on solar (up to that point, solar production had employed only excess silicon from chip manufacturing operations)

  • Drafted the initial legislation for the California Million Solar Homes initiative

  • Convinced several large enterprises (including a key business development team at HP) to launch what are now some of the largest solar ventures in the world and

  • Initiated several of the largest solar utility projects—from China to the U.S. to Canada.