Monday, December 30, 2013

Counting Down Top 10 Energy Facts---Numbers 4 & 3

4. Plummeting Solar Costs Build 5,000 Megawatts of Solar In US and 35,000 Megawatts Globally

Why did the US set another solar installation record this year, installing more than 5,000 megawatts of solar this year, the equivalent of a good-sized nuclear reactor? And why will 35,000 megawatts or more of solar be built around the world in 2013?

Plummeting solar costs that make solar as cheap or cheaper than taking power from the grid in more and more parts of the USA and world is the reason why solar is booming near and far.

Solar continued this year its stunning decline in the costs of the panels, installation, and permitting.  Large solar projects in the US now cost less than $2 per watt and even small residential projects are down to $3 per watt.  And those prices do not include any tax credits or other incentives. Totally amazing pricing!

But even lower solar prices are ahead in 2014, with another 10% price decline forecasted!

The amazing prices of 2013 meant that the solar industry built the equivalent of a good-sized nuclear plant just in the USA this year and will install the equivalent of 1 to 4 nuclear plants per year in 2014 and beyond. That much solar will fundamentally change our electricity and energy markets.

This picture is worth a thousand words and explains why solar power will be the ultimate disruptive energy technology.

3. Wind Power Costs Fall To 2.3 Cents/Kilowatt-hour, Making Wind Power Cheapest Energy Source

We keep being told that nuclear power renaissance and a wind power bust are around the corner. Pricing in 2013 proves neither will happen.

Nuclear power simply costs a fortune to build, to run, and to decommission. It is the country's most expensive source of new generation.  And so no renaissance in the USA is even on the distant horizon.

Unlike nuclear, wind power, however, has crashed, crushed costs so much so that utilities were buying more wind power at the end of 2013 than they had intended at the start of the year.

Indeed, wind power has crushed its costs to such an extent that it is the lowest cost new generation in increasing parts of America, even when natural gas is at $4 per thousand cubic feet.  And wind's competitive position will improve, because the odds are good that both gas will cost more than $4 in the coming years and that wind will continue to decrease its costs.

Wind now provides 4% of America's electricity, but 2013 wind pricing insures that wind will generate 10% or more of America's power by 2030.

1 comment:

  1. I read an article that Panasonic has developed a solar panel which double efficiency to 44%. If this is true, solar panels should have a payback period in half of the time.