INSTITUTE INDEX: A bright moment for solar power, but clouds ahead?

Percent by which the U.S. solar energy market grew between the first and second quarters of 2012: 45

Rank of 2012's second quarter among the solar market's best quarters in history in terms of new installations: 2

Rank of 2011's fourth quarter: 1

Percent by which the average price for a solar system fell from the first to the second quarter: 10

Of eight states where there were solar utility installations of 10 megawatts or greater in the second quarter, number in the South: 2*

Of the top 20 U.S. companies in terms of on-site solar capacity, rank of Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart: 1

Total number of solar systems operated by Walmart Stores: 144

Walmart's total installed solar capacity, measured in kilowatt hours: 65,000

Value of the electricity generated each year by the corporate solar top 20: $47.3 million

Number of average U.S. homes that could be powered by the electricity those companies produce: more than 46,500

Number of U.S. residents employed by the solar industry today: 100,000

Number of U.S. residents employed by the coal mining industry: 136,000

Factor by which the U.S. solar energy market has grown under President Obama: 6

Factor by which the renewable energy market overall has grown under Obama: 2

Amount set to be spent by the federal government on support for clean energy technologies from 2009 through 2014: around $150 billion

Percent by which federal spending on clean energy technologies is set to decrease from 2009 to 2014: 75

Amount spent so far this year on political TV ads promoting coal, oil and gas, or criticizing clean energy: $153 million

Amount spent by clean-energy advocates, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups to defend the president’s energy record or raise concerns about global warming and pollution: $41 million

Estimated amount spent during the last presidential election by the Alliance for Climate Protection on ads calling for action on global warming: $32 million

Amount the group, now known as the Climate Reality Project, is spending on ads this election, with the group's director reasoning that it would just be "washed away in this sea of fossil fuel money": $0

Cost per plate of a steak-and-shrimp lunch held last month in Houston where Republican president candidate Mitt Romney solicited advice on energy policy from oil and gas executives: $50,000

Amount in campaign contributions Romney has accepted from Oxbow, a coal company controlled by William Koch, brother of David and Charles Koch of oil giant Koch Industries: $3 million

In Romney's plan to increase U.S. energy production, number of times he mentions solar power: 0

Number of times he mentions renewable energy: 0

Percent of Romney's energy production plan devoted to developing "carbon-based energy resources": 100

* North Carolina and Texas. The other states were Arizona, California, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and New Mexico.

(Click on figure to go to source.)