Mother Jones has an article on how solar power is "edging into the mainstream" due to the great subsidies from several states, without needing any help from the federal government. There are some good statistics in the article: "the domestic PV market is growing as fast as 60 percent a year... 'The global installed capacity will hit a gigawatt this year'. ...thats barely more than two big coal-fired power plants. Still, its enough to encourage an industry: The world spent $20.3 billion on development of solar and wind power in 2003, one-sixth of the total global investment in power-generation equipment. ...'This is not a childrens crusade any more.' "
This is encouraging, but we should remember that investments in efficiency, while less "sexy," yield energy savings far above investments in any kind of power production. A gigawatt is actually not much power in our wasteful world, but if we push efficiency as far as we can, then a gigawatt of PV will be a big deal indeed.