I listened in on a press conference this morning from thesolaradvocates at SEIA as they reviewed U.S. solar in 2009 and focused on utility-scale solar.

Rhone Resch, CEO of SEIA, led the call and covered some quick stats:

In 2009 there was 58 megawatts of utility-scale solar deployed in the U.S. in 5 projects.  The compelling news is that SEIA expects to see more than 200 megawatts of utility-scale solar from concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaics (PV) coming online in 2010.  Those projects include Florida Power and Light's 75-megawatt trough project and thin film solar efforts by First Solar.
 
Even more encouraging is that there are over 100 utility-scale solar projects in the U.S. totaling 17,000 MW now in the planning stage. 
 
Jeff Levine, President of Gotham Research Group reviewed the results of a recent nationwide poll: 75 percent of Americans, across the political spectrum, support utility-scale solar on public lands.  Further polling data here.
 
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-7) also spoke on the phone call.  She is clearly an enthusiastic supporter of solar and actually sounded knowledgeable on the subject.  She cited the Arizona-based solar efforts already in progress -- Suntech's factory construction, Abengoa's CSP project and BrightSource's enormous CSP deployment.  She sees the need for removing permitting roadblocks to solar development. 

During the call, one of Gifford's constituents, Peter Schmugge, a self-described conservative Christian and Republican operative, twittered, "What a surprise. Instead of listening to her constituents, Rep. Giffords is talking solar once again."  Schmugge must be part of the 25 percent who don't support utility-scale solar on public lands.

We covered the recent Arizona solar bill kerfuffle here.

We covered the BrightSource $1.37 billion loan guarantee and Ivanpah project here.

There's good information from SEIA on interconnection issues here.