As of 2013, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal renewable energy sources accounted for 24.95% of all new U.S electrical generating capacity projects installed in that first six months of 2013. This equals a total of 2,144 MW, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions latest report. These renewable energy sources provide more new generating capacity than coal, oil and nuclear power combined. Solar alone has accounted for over 48% of all new electric capacity.
Worldwide, natural gas is still dominating the first half of 2013, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) has a new report claiming power generation from the renewable sources listed above will surpass that from natural gas by 2016.
This huge takeover is not just great for clean energy production, but disaster mitigation. If storms hit and solar systems contain inverters capable of working when the power is shut down, solar can be more reliable than nuclear and coal powered plants. Plus, power outages can be very costly, and money saved is money earned for both civilians and government. However, in order for solar power projects to continue as they are today, pressure needs to be taken off on solar energy firms who lower their prices due to oversea competitors.
The European Union’s anti-dumping tariffs, which are increasing the price for Chinese solar modules, is one way that can continue the investment in Canadian and American renewable energy projects. This tariff will cause South Korean and Western suppliers more competitive prices with Chinese-made products. The Tariff can be beneficial to American and Canadian solar businesses but Henning Wicht, senior director of solar research for HIS, believes this tariff will cause many solar companies to go out of business. Glenn Gu, a senior PV analyst at HIS, believes global supply lines and pricing will be shaken up dramatically as well.
Fortunately, Canadian solar companies may have a chance to redeem themselves due to the new microFIT program update, which will be accepting 30 MW of new capacity every year starting in the fall of 2013 over the next four years. But this is not enough, in order to ensure a stable increase in renewable investments, Ontario needs to focus on the long-term energy plan. The Ontario’s Review of the Long Term Energy Plan looks beyond 2018, and asks questions about innovative strategies and technologies that Ontario could pursue in order to have further development and better integrate renewable energy generation into the system. Industry and interested stakeholders can participate thought an online survey, a formal submission to the Environmental Registry, or through public open house meetings that are listed on CanSIA’s main web site.
Solar Companies can also keep themselves from bankruptcy by providing their services overseas or out of country. Canadian Solar just recently completed a 30 MW rooftop PV system installation in Suzhou, China. Businesses can also see what American companies are doing, since the U.S is the fourth country (after Germany, Italy and China) in the world to reach the 10 GW milestone of installed PV capacity. Solar PV is also one of the fastest growing energy sources in the U.S., with a compound annual growth rate of over 50% since 2007. This increase can be contributed to the decreasing prices for installed systems, falling from $6/W to $4.25/W. If these trends continue as expected, it looks to be a bright future for solar.