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Solar Mythbusting Part 1
by Ken Whiteside EPS Magazine
Myth #1: The Solar Industry isn't creating jobs.
First, the industry grew by 69 percent in the past year, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S. economy. You can't have that kind of growth without creating jobs.
Next, according to the results of an employment survey conducted by the Solar Foundation an independent research group in Washington DC, the solar industry now employs more than 100,000 Americans, double the number in 2009. '"They work at more than 500 companies, the vast majority of which are small businesses, in all 50 states. The survey results released in October show that between August 2010 and August 2011, solar industry job growth was 6.8%. That in contrast to a 0.7% job growth in the economy in general.
Myth #2: Solar works only in states like California.
Sure there is plenty of sunshine in California, Arizona and New Mexico. There is also plenty of sunshine for solar energy in other places. Actually solar energy works in all 50 states.
The Truth is that by a least one measure, California is not the lead location for solar. Less than one-third of the photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2011 was installed in California and more PV was installed on commercial buildings in New Jersey than in California during that quarter. If solar PV technology didn't work, building owners in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan and New York wouldn't be buying it.
And worldwide, Germany has more installed solar capacity than any other country and it received roughly the same amount of sunshine as Alaska.
Myth #3:The market for solar energy is very small.
When you look at current production capacity alone, then yes, solar represents far less than 10% of total U.S. electricity production. Look at the growth rate however, and the picture changes. In 2010 alone, $6 billion worth of finished solar energy systems were installed in the U.S. and as noted in Myth #1, the solar market grew by 69 percent last year.
Photovoltaic and solar-thermal energy systems are predicted to meet most of the world's demand for electricity by 2060, and half of all energy needs. The International Energy Commissions renewable energy division is set to publish a report later this year revising its previous forecast which showed that solar would meet about 21 percent of the world's power in 2050. Cedric Philibert, senior analyst in the renewable energy division of the IEC said,"Photovoltaic and concentrated solar power together can become the major source of electricity. You'll have a lot more electricity that today but most of it will be produced by solar-electric technologies."
The scenario indicates that there are lots of solar energy systems to be sold, designed and installed. The global economy runs on electricity and even transportation is getting into the mix in a big way. So the demand for electricity will continue to grow at an astounding rate. Continuing even the 40-60% annual solar growth rate we've seen over the past few years will not achieve the IEC's prediction - the solar market must grow significantly faster that it has been growing.
At the turn of the 20th century, most America homes and business were still lit by oil lamps. Most industrial operations were powered by direct hydro or steam. Electricity was seen as a novelty, with not enough market penetration to have any real impact on the nation or the economy. But the rate of growth of electrical infrastructure and generating capacity -
Solar Mythbusting Part 2 will be presented in the February 2012 Issue.
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ENERGY: Storage will make solar power reliable after sunset Read Article
BY LESLIE BERKMAN
Solar - News
Study: Energy Savings Used Efficiently
California spends more money than any state on electricity efficiency, but it seems to be working. Though California has 12.1 percent of the U.S. population, it used 6.9 percent of the nation's electricity in 2011, according to a report from the Washington, D.C. - based non-profit Institute for Electric Efficiency.
California spent $41.26 per person on energy efficiency, mostly through ratepayer programs set up by the California Public Utilities Commission. That's the sixth-highest figure among the 46 states and regions that responded to the survey.
Source: Going Green Journal 10-11
The U.S. photovoltaic market world's largest by 2013, study predicts
Nation - The U.S. photovoltaic market will become the largest market for annual PV installations in 2013, overtaking Germany, Italy and
Japan, according to a new report from ABI Research. An Estimated 900 MW of installed capacity came online during 2010 in the U.S., and that number is expected to nearly double this year.
Renewable energy technologies are receiving a strong push in the U.S. with utility, industrial and commercial PV installations expected to drive growth. "The U.S. federal government continues to focus on developing energy sources other than fossil fuels by extending tax credits to 2016, and U.S. states are setting ambitious renewable portfolio standards (RPS)," said Josh FLood, senior analyst at ABI Research.
Thirty U.S. states currently have an RPS in place, according to ABI Research. In addition, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) clarified a ruling last year that previously had inhibited states from setting feed-in tariffs (FITs) for renewable energy technologies.
ABI Research predicts that a number of states will introduce FITs before the end of 2012. California - which has a RPS target of 33% by 2020 is likely to be the first state to introduce FITs for PV power generation, the report said.
The U.S. PV market is set to witness explosive growth over the next few years with a forecast of 5 GW installed during 2013. This is particularly good news for companies such as First Solar, SunPower Corporation and Solar World, ABI Research stated.
"These PV companies expect to achieve considerable growth form the U.S. market," Flood predicted. "In total, the three will add a combined 3,000 MW of additional manufacturing capacity for PC during 2011 and 2012."
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