Almost 100 Million Homes May Run Only on Solar by 2020
Almost 100 million households worldwide may be powered by solar panels by 2020, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The off-grid solar market has grown to $700 million now from non-existent less than a decade ago, according to a report Thursday from the London-based research company and the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global. They expect that to swell to $3.1 billion by the end of the decade.
There are about 1.2 billion people without access to energy and another billion who are connected to a national grid, but with unstable power. The report estimates that they spent $27 billion on crude lighting methods such as kerosene and candles last year. The demand for reliable energy is soaring with burgeoning populations and rising industrialization in emerging economies.
China’s Wind and Solar Energy Capacity Is Soaring
Smog-filled days may be a part of life in Beijing for now, but China is cutting coal and growing its wind and solar energy capacity fast, according to figures released yesterday by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.
Solar power generation capacity was up 74 percent in China last year compared with 2014 levels, while wind power generation capacity grew by 34 percent. “China’s official 2015 wind installations are an all-time global record of 32.5 gigawatts,” Tim Buckley of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis told New Scientist.“China itself is the only nation to have come anywhere near this, delivering 20.7 gigawatts of new wind capacity in 2014.”
At the same time, China’s coal consumption dropped by 3.4 percent. Overall, wind, solar, nuclear power, natural gas, and hydropower now account for nearly 20 percent of the world’s largest carbon polluter’s energy mix.
US solar energy production is getting a big boost this year
The US Energy Information Administration is projecting solar will be the country’s fastest-growing source of energy this year, with an additional 9 gigawatts of capacity built. California will set the pace with nearly half of that (3.9 gigawatts).
California has led solar production for years. But before you spray champagne on your solar panels in celebration, please note that solar still makes up a very small portion of overall US energy production.
US energy production will still be getting greener. The second-fastest growth area by capacity, natural gas, will likely continue a trend years in the making. Natural gas likely will produce more energy than coal annually for the first time this year.
A Behind the Scenes Look at How Solar Energy Beat the Odds
Our industry has come a long way in shaping solar into a serious source for America’s energy needs and we are in a major growth mode.
By 2020, solar will quadruple in size to nearly 100 gigawatts (GW) of total capacity from just more than 25 GW today. By then, more than $150 billion will have been pumped into our economy and enough solar will have been installed to power 20 million American homes.
Why will this happen? In large part it’s because the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) fought a successful battle to extend the solar investment tax credit (ITC) last December. Instead of allowing the ITC to drop down to 10 percent for commercial users and zero for residential users, SEIA pushed Congress to vote for a long-term extension.