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World Solar Industry Growth Jumped 70 Pct In 2004

NEW YORK - Solar electricity production growth jumped 67 percent last year as established industry players increased output and new players entered the industry, a survey said.

Last year, world solar cell production reached 1,256 megawatts (MW) or about enough to power more than 1.2 million average American homes during daytime.

That was a 67 percent increase over the 750 MW produced in 2003, according to PHOTON International, a German magazine.

"In Japan they're making solar cells because of high electricity prices. Solar panels are selling like hot cakes there," said Colin Murchie, director of legislative affairs at Solar Energy Industries Association in Washington, D.C.

"Germany is boosting output because they want to meet Kyoto Protocol goals," said Murchie. Under the international pact that went into force earlier this year most industrialized nations, excluding the United States and Australia which did not sign the pact, must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Utilities and cars mostly produce such gases.

In 2002 the world solar market increased 40 percent.

REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

Editorial Notes: Very impressive growth figures. Unfortunately, this still represents less that 0.01% of world energy demand. -AF

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