I'll be the first to admit it: solar panels aren't as cool as the iPad. I mean, at the end of the day, all they do is turn sunlight into clean, predictably priced electricity, right? The iPad, meanwhile, can do just about everything short of raising your children. (To be fair, I think they're working on an app for that.)
But just because solar panels aren't as cool as the iPad doesn't mean they're insignificant.
Case in point: new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests that solar-panel installations may grow by more than 50 percent in 2011, a rate that would match Apple's sales growth after the Cupertino, Calif.-based company launched the iPad in 2010.