The clean energy industry is as American as fireworks on the Fourth of July. It invented the solar cell. It designed and perfected the electric wind turbine. The sector has largely defied the economic recession, with worldwide investments soaring 600 percent between 2004 and 2011. The result? Texas now has more solar workers than ranchers. California now has more solar workers than actors. And the United States now has more solar workers than coal miners or steel workers. But we’re losing our edge.
Last year, for the first time, China surpassed the US in terms of total dollar investments in clean energy. America now ranks an unimpressive 10 on a list of countries ranked by clean energy capacity installed since 2006. It doesn’t even make the top 10 lists for clean energy investment growth in the past five years.