It seems like a no-brainer; why would anyone not want solar?
This historically significant bill, introduced by city supervisor Scott Wiener, was voted unanimously by the San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. This makes San Francisco the first major American city to require the installation of solar panels.
Let’s examine some of the most important factors more closely:
A capacity factor measures the running intensity of a generating unit.
A crucial shift has taken place last year: the average capacity factor of natural gas combined-cycle plants ended up higher than coal power plants.
What does this mean?
For example, a capacity factor approaching 100% tells us that this unit is 1) operating near its maximum possible power output and 2) operating almost constantly. This increase of capacity factor indicates that electricity generation in the United States is shifting towards using a mix of energy sources. In fact, the use of coal steam power plants has experienced a steady decline in the past ten years, while the utilization of natural gas combined-cycle plants is much higher today.
The solar industry had a record-breaking year in 2015: more than 135,000 solar panel installations were completed in the first half of 2015, and impressively, 40% of all new electricity-generating capacity came from solar. Approximately 785,000 American homes and businesses have gone solar, and with the extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), there’s no sign of this momentum stopping.
This extension aligns with American’s demand for solar energy, and continues to support a green energy future for the U.S.
The solar industry has emerged as a major economic driver and is becoming a robust industry. Over 170,000 people are employed by the solar industry.
Solar is providing increasingly cheaper and more reliable power, while allowing for domestic energy independence. In 2014, 32% of all new electric generation came from solar, largely because solar is economically viable. The abrupt end to this program will crush growth and set the industry back. What is needed is a clear ramp to allow a transition to new business models that allow for continued and possibly accelerated growth. You may have seen Schwarzenegger’s facebook post about climate change, but what you might not know is that he started the Million Solar Roofs initiative, which lead into the California Solar Initiative. Read on to find how why we should follow this model and extend the ITC.
At the recent Green Tech Media conference in Phoenix, Arizona the panelists talked not only about how hot the solar market has been, but how and where the hottest aspects of the solar market will continue. Notably, 94% of all solar ever installed in the USA was installed between 2010 and 2014, which goes along with the SEIA report showing how almost 1/3 of all new energy capacity installed in the USA last year was solar PV.
We follow the hot solar markets pretty closely, and wanted to share a few breakdowns on what the hottest markets are.
Green Tech Media Analyst Cory Honeyman showed that 13 states and Washington DC are all at a ‘tipping point’ where direct ownership of residential solar yields a payback of 10 years or less. Here are some observations on the states he outlined:
Residential solar is the fastest and most steadily growing market segment with year on year growth well over 50%.
Over the last few years the solar industry has come a long way, as illustrated in the recent SEIA US Market Report. Numerous residential solar installation companies pepper the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies list, and the successful IPOs of SolarCity and forthcoming Vivint Solar reflect this growth and optimism. We think the best is yet to come.
The megawatt question is where will we see new residential solar growth in the coming year?
In states like California the right mix of policy, market conditions, and consumer interest show how the market can grow quickly and sustainably, and California shows no real signs of slowing. As solar begins to reach the mainstream, and 92% of Americans want more solar, we all want to know which states represent the next wave.
So we did a little data crunching on our own residential solar lead data from the last eight months. We call it the “US Solar Combine”, where States are ranked in three events:
Then we took an aggregate score of all three events to crown the overall champion. You’ll be surprised to see how they stack up.
The first test is brute strength: who’s got the most interested homeowners?
Here we’re looking at the relative percentages of residential solar leads by State in the USA, which is of course heavily influenced by population (bigger states will generally have more leads). So The Golden, The Lone Star, The Sunshine and The Empire states live up to their big names and take the crown as the strongest states by lead volume.
But if California represents about 50% of the residential solar market and only 10% of the lead volume (much more in line with population) then doesn’t this say that people across the country are roughly equally interested in solar?
We think that with the right long-term strategies in place, Texas, Florida and New York would easily rise to become some of the major markets. New York is already taking big steps to become a major solar market, while Florida and Texas have alternated between glimpses of their true potential and stumbling. But the people have spoke, so let them have solar.Continue reading