Summer is ending, but the sun’s still shining! Here’s our roundup of solar energy news for the week of August 31st, 2015.
New Political Action Campaigns Push for ITC Extension
This week, The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) launched a campaign to urge Congress to extend the federal investment tax credit (ITC) beyond 2016 and “help keep solar on a level playing field” with fossil fuels, which have benefited from numerous subsidies over the years. Following the recent Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) campaign to enlist support for the HR 2412 bill – which would extend the ITC to all segments until early 2022 – Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) recently announced that he intended to propose additional legislation to extend and evolve the credit. In addition to the Obama Administration’s dedication to maintaining the ITC and promoting clean energy, the Clean Power Plan’s ambitious solar goals may be inhibited if the ITC expires. On the other hand, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz recently praised the cost reductions in the industry and expressed his confidence that solar was ready to grow without subsidies.
Energy Storage Markets to Grow 13X by 2019
GTM Research’s latest edition of ‘Energy Storage Monitor’ displayed strong growth in all grid-tied U.S. energy storage markets during this last quarter – with 40.7 MW of storage deployed in the second quarter alone. Furthermore, the report predicted the U.S. storage market will reach 858 MW by 2019 – a figure that is 13 times larger than the sector’s capacity at the end of 2014. Since Q1 2015, residential energy storage has grown by 61 percent, partly attributed to the recent announcement of the Tesla Powerwall battery. Additionally, a recent study projected battery prices to fall 60 percent over the next five years, as companies move towards mass-producing Lithium-ion batteries and other innovative technologies.
Solar PV Growth On Track to Reach Ambitious Targets
A new GlobalData report forecasted the total global solar PV installed capacity to hit 652 GW by 2025. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated worldwide PV capacity reached 177 GW by the end of 2014; the industry has experienced an annual growth rate of over 50 percent since 2006 due to innovative technologies, good policy, industry support, and cost reductions. Furthermore, the research company emphasized that Europe comprises about half of the world’s total PV installed capacity. A recent analysis by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found solar and wind have the “greatest economic potential competing economically today.” Their findings indicate that U.S. states have the capability to achieve the ambitious carbon emission reductions and renewable targets under the Clean Power Plan, and that the U.S. can reasonably transition to a stable “low-carbon energy future.”
Your Weekend Solar Reading
- The Rocky Mountain Institute discussed if energy efficiency measures were still necessary given the falling costs of solar electricity. The Takeaway: the answer is yes, if we are to divest from fossil fuels!
- CleanTechnica covered a recent analysis of 11 net-metering studies that found solar energy was “undervalued,” meaning that utilities have been underpaying to use the solar electricity. The Takeaway: states with fast-growing solar markets should lift their “arbitrary” caps on net-metering!