Marginal Growth of U.S. Solar and Wind Energy Despite Government Incentives04 Feb

In spite of extensive incentives from U.S. federal and state governments (See  below), renewable energy consumption of solar and wind from 2006 to 2010 has been underwhelming at best. There are two pie charts below, one for 2006 and the other for 2010 regarding U.S. renewable energy consumption. During the period from 2006 to 2010, the size of the pie expanded from 6,659 quadrillion Btu to 8,049 quadrillion Btu. However, there was no percentage increase in solar energy during this interval (i.e., flat at 1 percent), while the wind percentage rose from 4 percent to 11 percent. It is troubling to note that U.S. renewable energy production has remained at approximately 8 percent of the total energy production from 2006 to 2010.

In contrast, “The share of electricity produced from renewable energy in Germany has increased from 6.3 percent of the national total in 2000 to over 20 percent in the first half of 2011.” (See below). In percentage increases, Germany’s solar increased by 6X,  and wind by 4X compared to the United States.

Germany plans to replace its 17 nuclear power plants with renewable energy sources in 10 years. When, if ever, will the United States be able to replace even one of its 104 aging, risk-laden nuclear power plants with renewable energy sources?







U.S. Renewable Energy Consumption from 2006 -2010







German Renewable Energy Consumption in 2009


“States offer a variety of grant programs to encourage the use and development of renewables and energy efficiency. Most programs offer support for a broad range of technologies, while a few programs focus on promoting a single technology, such as photovoltaic (PV) systems. Grants are available primarily to the commercial, industrial, utility, education and/or government sectors. Most grant programs are designed to pay down the cost of eligible systems or equipment. Others focus on research and development, or support project commercialization. In recent years, the federal government has offered grants for renewables and energy efficiency projects for end-users. Grants are usually competitive.”   A total of 27 incentive programs are listed below:


  • Green Building Incentives
  • Industry Recruitment/Support
  • Leasing Programs
  • Loan Programs
  • PACE Financing
  • Performance-Based Incentives
  • Personal Tax Incentives
  • Property Tax Incentives
  • Rebate Programs
  • Sales Tax Incentives
  • Utility Rate Discounts


  • Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards
  • Building Energy Codes
  • Contractor Licensing
  • Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS)
  • Energy Standards for Public Buildings
  • Equipment Certification Requirements
  • Generation Disclosure
  • Green Power Purchasing Policies
  • Interconnection Standards
  • Line Extension Analysis
  • Mandatory Utility Green Power Option
  • Net Metering
  • Public Benefit Funds
  • Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS)
  • Solar & Wind Access Policies
  • Solar & Wind Permitting Standards
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4 Responses to “Marginal Growth of U.S. Solar and Wind Energy Despite Government Incentives”

  1. Ro Pinto Reply

    Mary, when walking with me the other day, mentioned about an interesting conversation she had with a researcher/professor at MIT (or maybe it was Harvard, where she works) who is developing a new kind of large scale battery system for electric storage based on liquid metals. If you haven’t heard about that, maybe she can tell you more. Have you ever gotten anything back from her? If you wrote, and she didn’t answer it may be because she is a very busy lady. Try again, I would say.
    Good work on your article! It’s amazing that Germany can do so much and we so very little. And Germany isn’t a particular sunny country, not like ours that has vast sun-drenched plains and even deserts. But it’s the distribution-grid that is lacking here. I don’t know why the Right is so against the government creating infrastructure jobs – the work would be farmed out to private contractors anyway because the gov historically doesn’t have a great record performing any labor directly. I really never understood why not, or why that couldn’t change one day with enough skilled management. If the Europeans can do it, why can’t we?!

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About Dr. Everson

Prior to forming this SBIR consultant practice, Dr. Jeffrey Everson was director of business development for QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group (previously Foster-Miller, Inc.).

Dr. Everson has won and been the principal investigator for several SBIR programs, including a Phase I program for NASA, a Phase I project for the U.S. Air Force, and Phase I and II contracts from the U.S. Department of Transportation. For the Phase II program, he received a Tibbetts Award for exemplifying the best in SBIR achievement.

Previously Dr. Everson held senior scientist positions at Battelle Memorial Institute, The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC), Honeywell Electro Optics Systems Division, and Itek Optical Systems Division.

He holds a PhD in physics from Boston College and a MS/BS in physics from Northeastern University.


For more information about how JHEverson Consulting can help your company with its SBIR and STTR proposals, please contact Jeff Everson.

JHEverson Consulting is based in the Boston area but consults for clients throughout North America. It also is supported by affiliated consultants.