Tag Archives: Rhone Resch

The solar train is leaving the station, but the nuclear buggywhip is in the way

The president of the Georgia Solar Energy Association Solar Energy Industries Association says the solar train is leaving the station nationwide, but Georgia remains enmeshed in tangled legislation. We could have changed that last year with SB 401 if Georgia Power and Southern Company’s vested interested in new nuclear plants at Plant Vogtle hadn’t gotten in the way. We can change it next year with a similar or better law. The time to contact your Georgia legislator or candidate is now, while election season is on.

Update 14 June 2012: Fixed Rhone Resch employment attribution.

Rhone Resch wrote for the Saporta Report, 3 June 2012, It’s time to put solar to work in Georgia

There are now more than 100,000 Americans employed at over 5,600 solar businesses in all 50 states. Many of these are small businesses that have been hit hard by the recession, but they are finding new opportunity for growth in the solar industry.

In Georgia, there are more than 80 companies in the solar value chain including Suniva, MAGE Solar, Inc. and Enfinity Corporation. I will be joining representatives of each of these fine companies — and many others — at the Southern Solar Summit on June 15 in the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center in Midtown Atlanta to talk about the strides solar is making, and what remains to be done.

These companies are leading rapid innovation — across the entire value chain, from manufacturing improvements to new financing and sales mechanisms, that are allowing more and more Americans to go solar.

He points out that more solar was installed in 2011 than the total installed in 2008 and 2009, which shows that Moore’s Law continues to work for solar: the price per watt continues to go down, causing demand to go up. He projects forward:

The U.S. is on pace to install nearly 3,200 megawatts of new solar capacity this year with an annual growth rate of 30 percent through 2016.

At that rate, the United States would add more than 25,000 megawatts of new solar capacity between now and 2016. That is roughly the size of 25 coal-fired power plants and represents a significant opportunity for states that aggressively move to obtain a share of this exponentially growing market.

Hm, at Plant Vogtle the operating nuclear reactors produce about 2,430 megawatts and the two new ones under construction are supposed to produce about 2,200 megawatts. So that 25 gigawatts of new solar capacity by 2016 would be about 20 nuclear plants, a number that may be familiar from what Germany has already deployed. Somebody remind me again: why are we building any new nukes? How about if we end the nuke boondoggle and get on with clean green jobs for community and profit?

Rhone Resch says what Georgia can do:

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Record year for U.S. solar power

Wendy Kotch wrote in USA Today 10 March 2011, U.S. solar industry reports record 2010 growth:
The U.S. solar power market grew a record 67% last year, making it the fastest-growing energy sector, the industry reports Thursday.

“This remarkable growth puts the solar industry’s goal of powering 2 million homes annually by 2015 within reach,” Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO, said in announcing the findings.

That curve is the inverse of this other one of the plummeting cost of solar electricity. Needs no fuel, fouls no air; costs less, powers more: go solar!