U.S. Solar Energy Industry Reports Record-Setting 3Q 2013

by Silvio Marcacci.

Solar panels were installed on more American residential rooftops in the 3rd Quarter of 2013 than any other quarter in history, pushing US installed solar capacity over the 10-gigawatt (GW) milestone and potentially ahead of Germany for the first time.

New U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Installations
New U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Installations. Image courtesy of SEIA.

This sunny picture comes courtesy of the US Solar Market Insight (SMI) Q3 2013 report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and it shines a spotlight on the economic power of America’s clean energy transition.

Overall solar installations continued to improve quarter-over-quarter across the US, delivering the second-largest quarter of overall installations in the history of America’s solar market.

US Installs 930MW Solar Energy In 3Q, May Pass Germany In 2013

America’s solar industry installed 930 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) panels in Q3 2013, 20% higher than Q2 2013 and 35% higher than Q3 2013. This blistering pace vaults America over the 10GW capacity mark to reach 10,250MW overall installed capacity across 400,000 solar projects – enough to power more than 1.7 million average US homes and the emissions equivalent of removing 2.1 million cars from the road.

3Q’s results are remarkable, but the US solar market might just be warming up.  The SMI report predicts 1,780MW of PV solar and 800MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) will be installed in 4Q 2013, meaning America will install over 5GW of new solar energy capacity in 2013 – 27% more than 2012 and a new single-year record.

Even more remarkable, SMI’s forecast means the US could install more overall solar capacity in 2013 than Germany, the world’s undisputed solar market leader. Germany is expected to install 4.2GW new solar capacity this year – placing second to another country for the first time in 15 years.

“Without a doubt, 2013 will go down as a record-shattering year for the US solar industry,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO.

Cumulative Solar Photovoltaic installations by Quarter, U.S.A. vs. Germany
Cumulative Solar Photovoltaic installations by Quarter, U.S.A. vs. Germany. Image courtesy of SEIA.

Residential, Utility Installations Lead The Way

Residential solar led the 3Q charge with the market sector’s best-ever quarter, installing 186MW, up 45% compared to 2012. SMI credits favorable net metering policies for improving the economics of solar PV, but warns declining PV module prices could strain manufacturers while benefiting consumers.

The average price of PV panels have fallen more than 60% since the beginning of 2011 and now stands at a national average of $3.00 per installed watt.

“As solar continues its march toward ubiquity, the market will require continued innovation, efficiency improvement and regulatory clarity,” said Shayle Kann, GTM vice president of research.

The utility solar market sector also posted a strong quarter, with 52 projects completed for 539MW and over half of Q3’s total installed capacity. Unfortunately, the rising tide didn’t raise the boats of every industry sector – the non-residential (commercial) market is expected to remain flat through 2013 but may resume growth in 2014. California continues to lead the US solar PV market with 455MW installed in Q3, while Arizona placed second with 169MW installed.

2013 Total Installed Solar Photovoltaics -- by U.S. state. Image courtesy of SEIA.
2013 Total Installed Solar Photovoltaics — by U.S. state. Image courtesy of SEIA.

Solar’s Economic Impacts Ripple Across America

But best of all, As we’ve seen time and time again, the transition to a clean energy future also helps create green jobs. America’s solar industry led the US in green job creation during the third quarter, according to a recent report from E2, and had overall ripple effects across the overall economy.

119,000 workers are now employed at 6,100 businesses in the US solar industry, a 13.2% increase over 2011’s employment totals. Solar projects were valued at $11.5 billion by the end of 2012, up from $8.6 billion in 2011, and just $5 billion in 2010. With exponential growth continuing, it’s not hard to expect another overall valuation jump in 2013.

“This unprecedented growth is helping to create thousands of American jobs, save money for US consumers, and reduce pollution nationwide,” said Resch.

“Frankly, we’re just scratching the surface of our industry’s enormous potential.”

2013 Q3 Solar Facts. Image courtesy of SEIA.
2013 Q3 Solar Facts. Image courtesy of SEIA.

This article, US Solar Energy Industry Shines In Record-Setting 3Q 2013, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Silvio MarcacciSilvio Marcacci is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate-focused public relations company based in Washington, D.C.

Renewable Solar and Wind Energy Produced As Much As 60% Of German Electricity on October 3rd

by Nathan

German electricity production
German electricity production 1-3 October. Image Credit: BCCONSULT

Solar and wind energy production accounted for as much as 60% of Germany’s electricity use on October 3rd, according to a new study from energy consultant Bernard Chabot.

At peak production — right around 12pm that day — wind energy and solar energy were producing about 59.1% of that northern country’s power.

Part of the reason for the relatively large percentage was down to especially sunny and windy conditions, according to the research. While renewables certainly did produce a large percentage of the electricity used by the country that day, they, of course, were still eclipsed by the total production of non-renewable energy produced that day. For the day as a whole, “only” 36.4% of the electricity production was via solar energy and wind energy.

PV Tech notes: “The contribution was large enough to reduce the European electricity price index (ELIX) during the day with power at 1400 as cheap as it was at 0600.”

This is clearly a very notable contribution, and one which will no doubt continue to grow in the coming years. Though, it probably will not grow as fast as it has during the last couple of years, thanks to the stair-step lowering over the past couple of years of Germany’s FiT program.

On a related note — it was just a few months ago, in August, that Germany last broke its monthly solar energy generation record, producing about 6.5 times more energy via solar than the US has during its best month. That’s in spite of the fact that the US is a far sunnier country than Germany is. :/

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This article, Renewable Solar & Wind Energy Produced As Much As 60% Of Germany’s Electricity October 3rd, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Nathan For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 3:19

4 More Germany Solar Power and Wind Power Charts

by Zachary Shahan – Special to JBS News

Greentech Media recently piggy-backed on our article regarding Germany’s new monthly solar generation record (5.1 GWh in the month of July).

In that article, Herman K. Trabish pulled up some great charts from the Fraunhofer Institute’s Bruno Burger. I think I always find Dr. Burger’s charts interesting and useful. I’ve shared many of them on CleanTechnica in the past. Herman pulled some great ones from the month of July that I think are worth an even wider share. He also added some useful commentary regarding Germany’s clean energy leadership.

“First, Germany’s installed solar capacity as of July 22, 2013, according to the Fraunhofer Institute’s Dr. Bruno Burger, was 34,558 megawatts. By contrast, the GTM Research Q1 2013 U.S. Solar Market Insight report put the U.S. installed PV capacity at 7,962 megawatts (with another 6 megawatts of concentrating solar power installed capacity),” Herman writes.

Pretty astounding, eh? And if you look at it on a per capita or per GDP basis, it’s even much more divergent, as I point out every chance I get.

“Germany also had an installed capacity of 30,532 megawatts of onshore and offshore wind in July. The U.S. had over 65,000 megawatts of wind at the end of 2012, though it has yet to build offshore,” Herman adds, regarding Germany’s wind power leadership.

Here are some charts before I continue:

Germany Renewable Energy 2013

One more thing that Herman notes is something we’ve noted in the past but which gets even more striking the more wind and solar power grow: solar power and wind power complement each other wonderfully.

This is true on a day-to-day basis, but it’s also true on a month-to-month basis. Here are Dr. Burger’s/Fraunhofer’s monthly charts on that for 2013 through July:

Germany Solar Power Wind Power

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Thanks to Herman for following up and adding in these excellent Fraunhofer charts.

This article, 4 More Germany Solar Power & Wind Power Charts, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

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