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In 2008, the U.S. solar thermal industry was gearing up for explosive growth, projecting over 24,000 additional manufacturing and installation jobs within six years for water heating alone.

After years of waiting, the opportunity for solar thermal hot water had finally arrived. But today, it is uncertain whether the federal stimulus package and investment tax credit (ITC) will give the promising technology its needed boost or whether the credit crunch and decreases in oil prices will instead decelerate growth. Right now, the U.S. solar thermal industry is reaching only a sliver of its potential.