California is about to become the only state in the nation mandating that virtually every new home have solar panels by 2020.
2014-10-29: solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 US states.
What happens when solar and batteries join forces? Together they can make the electric grid optional for many customers-without compromising reliability and increasingly at prices cheaper than utility retail electricity.
It's no longer, if, but rather when. In study released in late July 2013, DB's US-based Vishal Shah estimates that three-quarters of the world's solar market will be "sustainable" within 18 months, meaning they can operate with little or no subsidy. In 2 years, he reckons, the market will have flipped from one being largely "unsustainable" - needing big subsidies - to one being mostly sustainable. (graph below). Whether the market will indeed flip as Mr. Shah predicts or not, is debatable. Most likely, the flipping will happen gradually, with solar becoming cost-competitive with grid-generated power starting in high retail regions first. DB's analysis is based on assumptions about module prices stabilizing at around $US60-70 c/watt, and installation costs of around US$1-1.20/watt, resulting in the levelized solar electricity in the US10-20 c/kWh range. "We believe the underlying economics of the sector have improved significantly and we may be just at the beginning of the grid parity era," according to DB, "Low natural gas prices may make large utility scale solar deployments in the US less attractive for now, but we remain bullish about rapid development of utility scale solar in several international markets over the next 3-5 years." Despite the contraction in the EU market, at least 1/3rd of new, small to mid-size projects are being developed without subsidies. Multi-megawatt projects were being built south of Rome for 22613017290c/W ($1.20/W), delivering levelized electricity at around 2261301728c/kWh (10 US cents/kWh). Likewise, DB points to unsubsidized large-scale projects in India and the US in the 9-12 US c/kWh range. DB, like everyone else, however, recognizes that grid parity on its own merits on paper does not necessarily equate to a robust market in practice. Sustainable growth requires sustainable regulatory and pricing policies. The bottom line? "Solar appears to be in the beginning stages of transitioning between 'alternative energy' and a truly cost competitive source of energy that may help both producers and consumers hedge against rising electricity rates and fuel costs." This theme, and same line of reasoning, finds growing acceptance by the day. An article in the Financial Times (8 Aug 2013), for example, shows the cost of solar generated electricity falling over time in Germany while the cost of grid-supplied electricity continues to rise. This and other factors explain the projected growth of solar PV installations globally. Moreover, it is not just solar energy, but the same applies to nearly all renewables. Which explains why an increasing number of scholars and academics believe that the electricity sector can gradually shift to a future where most if not all generation is provided from renewable resources. The table above shows a few examples of major economies planning to rely on renewables for most if not all their electricity generation by 2050. The preceding article shows an example of how it can be done - and apparently not at an exorbitant cost. Perry Sioshansi is the President of Menlo Energy Economics and Editor & Publisher of EEnergy Informer. He can be reached at email@example.com. His latest two books are Energy Efficiency: Towards the End of Demand Growth and Evolution of Global Electricity Markets, both published in 2013 by Elsevier. Further details & 30% discount available here.
It is estimated that around one and a half billion people globally have no access to reliable electricity. Most live in developing countries where the cost of connecting rural villages to the electricity
Punchline: Fracking probably holds the global economy together long enough for cheap solar to take over by 2020.
The state government's attempt to popularize solar-based small-scale power plants is getting a solid response from the public.
Main website for SolarFlower; the open source, home makeable solar energy device. Tutorials, forums, maps, etc.
About 80% of the world's total energy consumption is derived from fossil fuels, with only 12.5% from renewable resources. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources derived from sunlight - such
Pssst! Here's a secret. A new, resilient global economy is emerging and the timing couldn't be better. How so? It's amazing luck that a new resilient
It'll be a while before we see the final shape of the solar industry, says Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
This is one of the coolest stories I've seen in awhile. It was shared with me by one of CleanTechnica's great readers on our Contact page, but I couldn't get to it for awhile. Luckily, as I started writing on it, I found out that the technology and its 19-year-old inventor just got a $275,000 boost!
Tunnel on Paris-to-Amsterdam line topped with 16,000 solar panels to power Antwerp station and Belgian train network
Distributed energy generation (like solar) brings unique and valuable benefits to the electric grid. But capturing those benefits means solar and other renewable energy developers must find the bes
Parvati Solar Cooker (Twelve Sided) English, French, Spanish