The United States has been known as a bit of a laggard when it comes to green technologies, which makes it a good thing that the solar exchange traded funds (ETFs) have global exposure. It also means that there’s room for growth here, too.

While the United States is increasingly making a big push to use more green energies and solar energy has a promising future here, 2009 is not going to be our year to become a leading market for solar panels, reports Ucilia Wang for Greentech Media.

Make no mistake – the United States is a promising market, but we still lag behind other countries such as Germany, Spain and Japan. Our market is also expected to shrink in 2009, while Germany’s large appetite for solar power should make up the difference. In March, China also announced a big push to step up its solar power capacity.

The tax credits and rebates put into place to help spur the industry here, but they require consumers, businesses and investors to line up their own financing, which in this climate is still tough to come by. The government is supposed to provide money to developers to finance these projects if they forgo the 30% investment tax credit, but the program hasn’t been started yet.

Spain is the number one market; Germany is number two, but could reclaim the top spot this year.

Both available solar ETFs have allocations to other countries besides the United States. In addition to that, some U.S. companies could be tapped to be a part of some overseas solar power projects.

  • Market Vectors Solar Energy (KWT): up 16.9% year-to-date; Germany is 31%; China is 22%; Spain is 0.8%

  • Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy (TAN): up 23.2% year-to-date; Germany is 33%; China is 31.2%; Spain is 1.9%

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.