Will 2011 Be Another Solar Boom Year?
January 21, 2011
We watch the solar industry and are part of the industry that sometimes it is hard to tell whether we are in a true boom, are there is just wishful thinking. And with the solar energy just a miniscule of our current output, anything, yes, anything looks like a tidal wave. We now have a raft of reports that purport to predict a year of hope for the solar industry in the U.S. and abroad.
Cleantechnica reports that the U.S. is "poised for wind and solar power boom." The article cites two developments showing "that the race for clean energy is just starting to heat up." First, the Department of Energy announced that it was providing a loan guarantee for a 290-megawat photovoltaic facility in Yuma County, Arizona. Second, a new wind power study shows that there is potential for significant improvements in the cost effectiveness of America's wind resources. Well, these two projects may not necessarily represent a boom, nevertheless this is indeed good news for renewable energy advocates.
A recent report by IMS Research estimates that PV installations worldwide increased by 130% last year, according to the Solar Industry Magazine. Although European demand is expected to slow, demand is supposed to accelerate in Italy and other "emerging countries" such as the U.K., Greece and Bulgaria. Most of the growth will be seen in the utility-scale systems, over 5 megawatts, not the smaller commercial and residential systems.
Discovery News reports on a study that says that 100 percent renewable energy is possible and affordable by 2030. According to the article, the study suggests that the researchers made some optimistic estimates, but focused on the potential of wind power, solar power, waves and geothermal energy. The article cites PhysOrg that achieving 100 percent clean energy would require building about 4 million 5-megawatt wind turbines, 1.7 billion 3-kilowatt roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, and around 90,000 300-megawatt solar power plants. If we are to reach this goal, 2011 will have to be another boom year for solar.