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.
Renewables Go Mainstream in 23 States https://t.co/nQfDcpKi0V @Sustainablehero @worldresources— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1473558910.0
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.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
- San Antonio, Texas Unveils Largest Highway Crossing for Wildlife in ... ›
- Wildlife Crossings a Huge Success - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Climate Change Will Be Sudden and Cataclysmic Unless We Act Now ›
- There's a Heatwave at the Arctic 'Doomsday Vault' - EcoWatch ›
- Marine Heatwaves Destroy Ocean Ecosystems Like Wildfires ... ›
By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
- Biden Likely Plans to Cancel Keystone XL Pipeline on Day One ... ›
- Joe Biden Appoints Climate Crisis Team - EcoWatch ›