The office of Vice President Joe Biden just released its report on the impacts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Here's a link to a PDF of the 50-page report.

Please forgive our immodesty and allow us to guide you to page 20 of the report (page 22 of the PDF) where you will find Greentech Media (GTM) Research's Shyam Mehta and his solar manufacturing data cited (see chart below).

The only non-DOE or non-EIA cited data in the report belongs to Mr. Mehta and his 2009 report: PV Manufacturing in the United States: Market Outlook, Incentives and Supply Chain Opportunities

We are proud to be included in the report and proud of Shyam, and we hope that Shyam will remember to be kind to the little people at GTM who made his fame possible.  More of Mehta's work and the work of some of our less famous analysts can be found here in our solar, smart grid and biofuels research library.

We'll try to delve deeper into the report, but for now, here are some of the energy-related highlights:


  • With over $787 billion in funding, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is one of the single boldest and largest investments in the U.S. economy in the nation’s history.  The Recovery Act’s design was three-fold:  to rescue a rapidly deteriorating economy; put the country on a path to recovery by putting Americans back to work quickly; and reinvest in the country’s long-term economic future, building a foundation for a new, more robust, and competitive American economy.
  • The Recovery Act’s $100 billion investment in innovation is not only transforming the economy and creating new jobs, but helping accelerate significant advances in science and technology that cut costs for consumers, save lives and help keep America competitive in the 21st century economy. 

According to this analysis, the U.S. is now on track to achieve these major energy innovation breakthroughs thanks to Recovery Act investments:

  • Cutting the cost of solar power in half by 2015, putting it on par with the cost of retail electricity from the grid. (The report sort of implies that the ARRA will be the cause of solar's 50% cost decline over 5 years, which is a bit of a stretch. What the ARRA has done is helped create an incentive for solar manufacturing and demand in the U.S.)
  • Cutting the cost of batteries for electric vehicles by 70 percent between 2009 and 2015, putting the lifetime cost of an electric vehicle on-par with that of its non-electric counterpart.
  • Doubling U.S. renewable energy generation capacity and U.S. renewable manufacturing capacity by 2012, a breakthrough that would not be possible without the Recovery Act.

Goal: Double U.S. renewable energy generation capacity and U.S. renewable manufacturing capacity by 2012.

We’re now on track to hit our target to double renewable energy generation by 2012, something that would not have been possible without Recovery Act investments.

  • Over $23 billion of Recovery Act investments support renewable energy. Many of these investments are directly contributing to the doubling U.S. renewable energy generation capacity from wind, solar, and geothermal by 2012. This means installing as much renewable energy generating capacity in the next three years as the U.S. had in the previous thirty.
  • In addition, President Obama set the goal of doubling renewable manufacturing capacity, so that the U.S. can gain leadership in manufacturing these technologies as well.
  • Specifically, these goals mean that we will:
  • Double renewable energy capacity from the 28.8 GW of solar, wind, and geothermal generation that has been installed as of 2008, to 57.6 GW by the end of 2011. That’s enough capacity to power 16.7 million home
  • Double renewable energy manufacturing capacity from an annual output of 6 GW of renewable equipment (like wind turbines or solar panels) to 12 GW by the end of 2011. This will increase the U.S. share of global manufacturing of solar photovoltaic modules from 8% of all production, to 14% by 2012.



Goal: Cutting the cost of solar power in half by 2015

  • As a result of today’s investments, the cost of solar energy is forecast to drop by half between 2009 and 2015. The cost of power from rooftop solar panels will drop from $0.21 per kWh in 2009 to $0.10 per kWh in 2015, which is equivalent to typical household electricity rates. The cost of power from utility-scale solar projects would drop from $0.13 per kWh today to $0.06 in 2015, which is equivalent to the cost of wholesale utility power.
  • Further, the cost of rooftop solar power could drop to as low as $0.06 per kWh by 2030. At that cost, solar power will be significantly cheaper than household electricity rates—and an average household could save more than $400 per year in electricity bills.
  • The Recovery Act is not just supporting implementation of the latest solar technologies, but also is scaling up manufacturing and deployment to much greater levels, both of which help to dramatically bring down the costs of new technologies.
  • Some companies are reducing cost simply by scaling up manufacturing and deployment of the standard silicon solar panel. For example, the largest photovoltaic power plant in North America, the 25 MW DeSoto Solar Park in Pensacola, Florida, was funded in part by the Recovery Act. The power plant consists of over 90,000 solar panels and provides enough power for 3,000 homes.

Goal: Cut the cost of batteries for electric vehicles by 70 percent between 2009 and 2015

Recovery Act investments have now put us on track to cut the cost of batteries for autos by 70% between 2009 and 2015. This means that the cost of batteries for the typical all-electric vehicle will fall from $33,000 to $10,000, and the cost of typical plug-in hybrid batteries will drop from $13,000 to $4,000.

  • Already, electric vehicles are becoming more affordable and accessible. In 2009, the only available electric-drive vehicle cost more than $100,000. Soon, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt, starting at $25,000 and $33,000 respectively, will be available.
  • A $10,000 battery for all-electric vehicles and a $4,000 battery for plug-in hybrid vehicles will mean that electric-drive cars are affordable and cost competitive with similar non-electric vehicles. At those battery costs, electric-drive cars actually will be less expensive over the life of the car than similar non-electric vehicles. What’s more, these investments will make these less-expensive batteries lighter and more durable
  • The weight of a typical electric-vehicle battery is forecasted to decrease by 33%, from 333 kilograms to 222 kilograms, by 2015. The lighter battery means a lighter car, which means less energy is needed to power the car.
  • A typical battery is expected to last 14 years in 2015—more than three times as long as the current 4-year lifetime.

Feel free to weigh-in with your thoughts on whether this is the way to jump-start an economy and if it's governments role to fund innovation. Or if you think the free-market would have done this more efficienctly.


Vice President Joe Biden (right) and GTM Research Senior Solar Analyst Shyam Mehta (left)