An op-ed in the New York Times last Wednesday points out some of the barriers to solar power in the US as well as where it could be making a difference right now.
Solar photovoltaic technology can significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and our dependence on the grid. Electricity-producing photovoltaic panels installed on houses, on the roofs of warehouses and big box stores and over parking lots can be wired so that they deliver power when the grid fails.
In Germany, where sensible federal rules have fast-tracked and streamlined the permit process, the costs are considerably lower. It can take as little as eight days to license and install a solar system on a house in Germany. In the United States, depending on your state, the average ranges from 120 to 180 days. More than one million Germans have installed solar panels on their roofs. Australia also has a streamlined permitting process and has solar panels on 10 percent of its homes.
Read the whole article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/opinion/solar-panels-for-every-home.html?_r=0