Tag Archives: SEIA

New solar up 95% in 2016, more installed than gas or wind

Solar passed both wind and natural gas in 2016 for most new U.S. electricity installed in a year. Yet Bloomberg still doesn’t quite get it: solar is growing exponentially, and is still on track to produce more U.S. electricity total than any other power source by 2023.

Chris Martin, Bloomberg Markets, 15 February 2017, U.S. Solar Surged 95% to Become Largest Source of New Energy,

  • Solar installations surpassed gas and wind for first time
  • Record 14.6 gigawatts of solar panels added in 2016, SEIA says

Solar developers installed a record 14.6 gigawatts in the U.S. last year, almost double the total from 2015 and enough to make photovoltaic panels the largest source of new electric capacity for the first time.

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Solar Panels at Daytona International Speedway

Even FPL is doing solar power now, as evidenced by these pictures John Horton sent back from Daytona yesterday. Front gate So, FPL, how about cancel Sabal Trail and help the sun rise faster on the Sunshine State?

Kelly Pickerel, Solar Power World, 19 February 2016, Three solar canopies complete at Daytona International Speedway, Continue reading

Sun dancing as a Georgia Trend

GSEA, GaSU, Georgia Power, and even me are quoted in a Georgia Trend feature about solar power in Georgia. As Mahatma Gandhi is alleged to have said when asked his opinion of western civilization: “that would be a good idea!”

Jerry Grillo wrote for Georgia Trend July 2013, Sun Dancing: As Georgia’s solar capacity shoots skyward, a new state utility is proposed,

It’s the sun, the sol of our solar system, to which everything that lives and moves, including the wind, owes its existence. Without the sun, there is no us, no Earth. You can’t miss it. It’s the biggest thing in the sky, the biggest thing for at least 24 trillion miles, and at 4.5 billion years old it is middle-aged and remains the most abundant source of power between here and Alpha Centauri, zapping our planet every minute with more energy than humanity can consume in a year.

The best thing is, the sun is free. Still, for most of those eons, capturing the sun’s energy for human consumption has been like picking crops with a catcher’s mitt.

But over the past few years, photovoltaic technology (“photo” for light, “voltaic” meaning electricity) has gotten way more efficient, and the previously prohibitive price has fallen dramatically, setting the stage for what’s happening now in Georgia: Solar deployment and interest are increasing dramatically.

“This is a very dynamic time for solar energy, and it demonstrates a pent-up demand and interest in solar energy for Georgia,” says Mark Bell, chair of the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA) and president of Atlanta-based Empower Energy Tech-nology. “There’s a great potential here for real, sustainable economic development.”

Grillo was pretty thorough in getting a range of points of view (with the notable exception of Georgia Sierra Club), and the whole article is well worth reading.

Among the things I told Grillo back at the beginning of May, I’m especially glad he included this:

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Georgia behind Maryland and Massachusetts in solar power

California and Texas ahead of Georgia in solar power, sure, but Maryland and Massachusetts, small and far to the north with less sun? Does that seem right to you?

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Georgia should be number 5. Georgia should be moving up the rankings as fast as any state except maybe Arizona or Colorado, according to an Arizona State University study of two years ago that said Georgia was third among state that would benefit from solar deployment through generating and exporting energy to other states. The U.S. as a whole keeps installing far more solar power each year, but Georgia Power and Southern Company keep holding Georgia back.

It’s great that Valdosta will soon get 2 more megawatts of local solar power. But while we’re waiting for Georgia Power to slowly get around to doling out 277 megawatts over several years, New Jersey has 1,000 megawatts already installed. Georgia is #22, behind #21 Connecticut. Why do we let that continue?

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NJ 1 GW Solar: GA #22

While Georgia failed to reform its antique Territorial Electric Service Act and toyed with a solar monopoly, New Jersey, far to the north with far less sun, finished installing a gigawatt (1,000 megawatts) of solar power. The rest of the U.S. installed 3.3 MW total, slightly higher than projections of 3.2 MW, but Georgia lagged behind. When will the legislature and the Public Service Commission, and perhaps more importantly, Georgia Power and Southern Company, stop stop wasting our money on that three-legged nuclear regulatory-capture boondoggle at Plant Vogtle and get on with solar in Georgia for jobs, for profit, and for clean air and water?

Pete Danko wrote for Earth Techling and Huffpo 20 March 2013, New Jersey Solar Capacity Hits 1 Gigawatt,

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U.S. installed 3.3 Gigawatts of solar in 2012, on target

Moore’s law continues to drive solar costs down and installations up. According to SEIA, U.S. Market Installs 3,300 Megawatts in 2012; Driven by Record Fourth Quarter,

2012 was a historic year for the U.S. solar industry. There were 3,313 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed throughout the year, which represents 76% growth over 2011’s record deployment totals. The fourth quarter of 2012 was also the largest quarter on record as 1,300 MW came online, driven in part by unprecedented installation levels in the residential and utility markets. SEIA and GTM Research forecast that the market will continue to grow at a steady clip with over 4,200 MW of PV and 940 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) expected to come online in 2013. (All data from SEIA/GTM Research “U.S. Solar Market Insight 2012 Year-In-Review” unless otherwise noted.)

And those new installations are driven by solar PV prices continually falling in Moore’s Law for solar:

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Net Metering in California: Megawatts and jobs

Net metering of solar energy works fine in California, where it increasingly provides electricity to meet peak demand. Georgia has a 2001 law that requires power utilities to do a version of net metering, but it’s a weak version and there’s a low cap on how much you can sell back to the utility.

The Georgia version, according to GEFA:

Net metering is the process whereby an energy consumer produces energy and then sells some or all of this energy to the “grid”, or major energy producers in the state. Under Georgia’s net metering laws, state residents and businesses can purchase and operate green energy capital, including photovoltaics, wind energy and fuel cells, and use this energy on-site. These residents and businesses may then sell any un-used, additional energy produced on-site to their energy provider. There is a maximum of 10 kilowatts (kW) for residential applications and up to 100 kW for commercial applications.
As you can see by GEFA’s pie chart, solar energy was too small to chart as a source of energy in Georgia as of 2004. With solar, we can burn less coal and uranium.

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has a report, Solar Net Metering in California,

Protecting Net energy metering (NEM) is the top policy priority of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for California in 2012. NEM is a billing arrangement that allows utility customers to offset some or all of their energy use (up to 1 MW) with selfgenerated renewable energy.
The definition sounds the same, except for the cap: 1 megawatt is 1000 kilowatts, so California’s current cap is 100 times the Georgia residential cap and 10 times the Georgia commercial cap, with apparently no distinction between residential and commercial.

The result is this: Continue reading

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!

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