Solar Industry Experiences Record-Breaking Growth
By Tom Kimbis, Solar Energy Industries Association
It seems like clockwork at this point. With each new Solar Market Insight (SMI) report, the solar industry sees more historic growth and this new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is no different.
An array of solar panels supplies energy for necessities at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Jeremiah Handeland
The solar industry installed 2,051 megawatts of PV in Q2 2016, bringing the total nationwide capacity to 31.6 gigawatts (see Figure 1.1 below) and making this quarter the best non-quarter 4 ever for the industry. There is now enough solar installed to power more than 6.2 million U.S. homes and reduce carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons each year.
A new solar installation was completed every 82 seconds in the first half of 2016, equaling more than 1,000 installs every day. This frequency is what will take the current total of 1.1 million solar systems, which took 40 years to reach, to 2 million systems by 2018.
The outlook for the rest of 2016 is just as eye-opening. The industry expects to add 13.9 GW of new capacity, which would be an 85 percent growth rate over 2015, solar's largest year ever. The U.S added 4 GW of capacity in the first half of 2016, but the industry will add nearly 10 GW in the final six months, which is 34 percent more than was installed in all of 2015, a record year.
The industry is growing faster than ever and here is what else we saw in this SMI report:
- Solar prices fell across all market segments, with declines ranging from 2-7 percent (see Figure 2.3).
- As a whole, the price of solar is 18 percent lower than it was one year ago and 63 percent lower than it was 5 years ago.
- Solar represented 26 percent of all new electric generating capacity brought online in the first half of 2016.
- There are now 1,162,000 individual solar systems installed in the U.S., including more than a million residential systems.
- The utility-scale sector installed more than 1 GW for the third consecutive quarter and will install nearly 10 GW by the end of this year.
- Thanks to strong growth by non-traditional markets like Texas and Utah, the residential sector experienced another record quarter, installing 650 MW.
The Q3 Solar Market Insight Report provides a clear vision of where the solar industry stands today and where we're headed in the future. By 2021, the industry is projected to nearly quadruple, while more than doubling its employment numbers and generating billions in investment. The state of solar is strong and the potential for future growth is even more encouraging.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club lodged formal comments with the federal government Monday opposing a massive gas fracking project that spans 220 square miles of public land in Wyoming south of Yellowstone National Park.
The Normally Pressured Lance gas field would destroy wildlife habitat and worsen ozone pollution, a major cause of childhood asthma, in areas already suffering from extreme air pollution.
Sierra received complete surveys from a record-breaking 227 schools—in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and for the first time ever, Canada.
By Andy Rowell
The decades-long struggle for social and environmental justice in the Niger Delta continues, largely unseen by the wider world.
On Aug. 11, hundreds of people from the Niger Delta stormed the Belema flow station gas plant owned by Shell in the Rivers State region of the Delta. The plant transports crude oil to the Bonny Light export terminal, from where it is shipped overseas.
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said in a statement the Interior Department has directed it to cease its study on the potential health risks for people living near surface coal mines in Central Appalachia.
The Interior Department, which committed more than $1 million to the study last year, has begun an agency-wide review of grants over $100,000 because of the "Department's changing budget situation."
California and North Carolina's electricity grids faced no disruptions during Monday's solar eclipse, which many saw as a test for the future when solar power will command a greater share of the energy mix.
"It bodes well for renewable energy on the grid during an event like this," said Eric Schmitt, a vice-president at California Independent System Operator that delivers most of the state's electricity.
By Thursday the Trump administration's project of dismantling the public domain will burst into full bloom when Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke announces a wholesale reversal of more than a century of public lands protection through presidential designation of national monuments under Antiquities Act of 1908.
Are you ready to watch the Great American Eclipse of 2017? Will you be in the path of totality? Do you have your safety glasses ready?
Well, however you decide to watch the solar eclipse today, NASA TV will be showing the "Eclipse Across America" with live video of the celestial event. The feed is already live with lots of handy information about today's unprecedented eclipse. So be sure to watch above.
"One out of three Americans lives within 50 miles of high-level nuclear waste, some of which, like Plutonium, is lethally dangerous and will be around for an incredible longtime," John Oliver explained last night on Last Week Tonight.
According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, there is more than 71,000 tons of nuclear waste stranded at 104 reactors. "It was a problem we should have solved in the 1980s," Oliver said, "much like a Rubik's Cube."
Despite years of using nuclear energy, the country still doesn't have a permanent facility for its storage, the comedian said. Oliver proposed what the U.S. really needs is some kind of "nuclear toilet."