Coming off the Recession, Solar Soars – Wind Blows Back

April 8, 2011

Bloomberg reports:

Solar panel installations may surge in the next two years as the cost of generating electricity from the sun rivals coal-fueled plants, industry executives and analysts said.

Large photovoltaic projects will cost $1.45 a watt to build by 2020, half the current price, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated today. The London-based research company says solar is viable against fossil fuels on the electric grid in the most sunny regions such as the Middle East.

“We are already in this phase change and are very close to grid parity,” Shawn Qu, chief executive officer of Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ), said in an interview. “In many markets, solar is already competitive with peak electricity prices, such as in California and Japan.”

Bloomberg reported that by 2013, Photovoltaic installations will double to 32.6 gigawatts by 2013 from 18.6 gigawatts

“System costs have declined 5 percent to 8 percent (a year), and we will continue to see that,” SolarCity Inc. CEO Lyndon Rive said in an interview. The Foster City, California- based company is a closely held installer and owner of rooftop power systems.

According to Rhone Resch, CEO of the Solar Energy Association:

The solar industry is wrapping up its most successful year ever.Solar is now the fastest growing energy industry in the U.S., employing nearly 100,000 Americans and generating billions of dollars of economic growth for our economy.

The prospects for wind power in the US are rebounding now after a tough year.

Electrical Contractor notes:

America’s wind industry built 5,115 megawatts (MW) of wind power last year, barely half of 2009’s record pace, but entered 2011 with more than 5,600 MW under construction. With wind being cost-competitive with natural gas for new electric generation, utilities are moving to lock in favorable rates.

Futurism Now reports:

AWEA figures show that the average wind PPAs are now being priced at about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour,(! –PS) the same price for energy procurements from a combined cycle natural gas plant. The group says wind is actually about 2 cents cheaper than coal-fired electricity, and more projects were financed through debt arrangements than tax equity structures last year, a possible sign that wind deals are winning more mainstream acceptance from Wall Street’s banks.

The group estimates that 5,600 MW of new installed capacity is under construction in the United States, more than double the number at this point in 2010. Thirty-five percent of all new power generation built in the United States since 2005 has come from wind, more than new gas and coal plants combined, as power providers are increasingly enticed to wind as a convenient hedge against unpredictable commodity price moves, AWEA said.

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