Estimation of Sector Sales and Employment Changes Associated with Solar Space and Water Heating Development

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Solar Energy







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There is little available information on sector-specific sales and employment impacts of a large-scale solar space and water heating industry. This study identifies those sectors of the economy which would be most affected by increased solar utilization and estimates the magnitude of the changes. The basic methodology involves augmenting an existing Input/Output table to include sectors reflecting solar technology. Data required to augment the matrix were obtained from questionnaires returned by existing firms involved in collector manufacture or solar space and water heating system sales. The augmented I/O matrix is inverted to generate a direct and indirect requirements matrix. The elements of this matrix estimate the changes in total sector output resulting from changes in final demand of other sectors. Estimates of final demand for solar heating systems by 1985 and projections of annual energy savings associated with solar installations to that time were obtained from existing studies. Using the computed direct and indirect requirements matrix and the assumed changes in the composition of final demand, estimates of changes in sales and employment were made for 131 sectors of the U.S. economy. It was determined that the sectors most affected by solar development will be those involved in electricity generation and the mining, refining, and fabrication of metals, especially copper. The proportionate changes in industry sales and employment are not expected to be very great. Only copper rolling and drawing is changed by as much as two percent. This finding suggests that the U.S. economy can accomodate an expanded use of solar heating without undue stress.


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