Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Solar Energy Poised for Massive Expansion

So, the evidence of the obsolescence of coal, oil, and natural gas energy is emerging rapidly.  The article below just appeared in Bloomberg news.  The cost of solar has dropped so much, that it is about to become cheaper than coal, oil, or natural gas in nearly every U.S. state.  Very exciting news.

One caveat. U.S. energy policy is still controlled by the fossil energy giants.  They are not about to have their hydrocarbon reserves turned into stranded assets... not without a fight.  They are already waging an aggressive campaign to deny climate change and to undermine clean, renewable energy technologies like wind and solar. They will impede progress as long as they can.

At the end of the day, it will  be up  to American voters to elect politicians who will create a new nationwide energy policy that will allow us to fully realize a transition to clean, renewable, low cost energy. 


While You Were Getting Worked Up Over Oil Prices, This Just Happened to Solar

Every time fossil fuels get cheaper, people lose interest in solar deployment. That may be about to change.

After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states -- in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week. That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year.

Even if the tax credit drops to 10 percent, solar will soon reach price parity with conventional electricity in well over half the nation: 36 states. Gone are the days when solar panels were an exotic plaything of Earth-loving rich people. Solar is becoming mainstream, and prices will continue to drop as the technology improves and financing becomes more affordable, according to the report.


Grid Parity to Reach 36 States in 2016

Solar has already reached grid parity in 10 states that are responsible for 90 percent of U.S. solar electricity production. In those states alone, installed capacity growth will increase as much as sixfold over the next three to four years, Deutsche Bank analyst Vishal Shaw wrote in the Oct. 26 report.
The reason solar-power generation will increasingly dominate: it’s a technology, not a fuel. As such, efficiency increases and prices fall as time goes on. The price of Earth’s limited fossil fuels tends to go the other direction. Michael Park, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, has a term for the staggering price relationship between solar and fossil fuels: the Terrordome. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it doesn’t sound very forgiving.

 Solar will be the world’s biggest single source of energy by 2050, according to a recent estimate by the International Energy Agency. Currently, it’s responsible for just a fraction of one percent.
Because of solar's small market share today, no matter how quickly capacity expands, it won’t have much immediate impact on the price of other forms of energy. But soon, for the first time, the reverse may also be true: Gas and coal prices will lose their sway over the solar industry


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