The sun keeps shining and the outlook for the solar industry is getting brighter every day. Learn more about it in EnergySage’s roundup of solar energy news for the week of October 19th, 2015.
EnergySage’s Solar Marketplace Intel Report™ Gains Industry Attention
EnergySage’s newly released Solar Marketplace Intel Report has been circulating around the clean tech industry. One takeaway that has solar experts surprised? 90 percent of solar shoppers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace opted to own their solar energy systems, either outright or with solar loans, rather than lease them. EnergySage CEO Vikram Aggarwal attributes this consumer behavior to smart shoppers recognizing the investment opportunities of owning a PV system outright. The ability to comparison-shop and receive instant price estimates is one reason Greentech Media calls EnergySage the “most popular shopping site for solar.”
Skyrocketing Wind and Solar Production Overwhelm Fossil Fuels
To the disbelief of many, production of fossil fuels continues to drop as wind and solar boom amidst falling costs and growing innovative technologies. To better understand how renewables are overtaking traditional oil and gas, let’s look at some key facts & figures:
- The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that wind and solar will see double digit growth in 2016
- Crude oil production dropped by 120,000 barrels last month and is expected to continue to diminish
- Fossil fuel plants are running less as more renewable resources penetrate the market, causing the costs of generating electricity from coal and natural gas to rise
Australia Predicted to Be World Leader in Solar Battery Storage
A Climate Council report shows that over the next three years, off-grid solar could become cheaper than grid-connected solar in Australia – a reality that many homeowners are hoping for due to financial and sustainability incentives. Australia will likely hit record low costs for solar panel battery storage by 2018, which is causing leading solar manufacturers to aggressively target Australia’s growing market for solar. Currently, 1.4 million homes in the country have gone solar.
Job-Heavy U.S. Solar Industry Prides Itself on Worker Diversity
Many refer to the rapid growth of the U.S. solar industry as the “solar boom,” while some are calling it a “green revolution.” Regardless of your chosen terminology, solar is a proven job creator: the industry currently employs 174,000 Americans with a further 36,000 jobs projected to be added by the end of 2015. The renewable revolution is also seeing an impressive increase in workforce diversity:
- The solar industry beats the oil, gas and coal industries in ethnic and gender diversity
- Solar has a higher Hispanic and Latino employment rate (16.3%) than the national U.S. employment rate for Latinos and Hispanics (13.3%).
- Solar employs a higher rate of veterans than the total U.S. workforce – the industry has committed to 50,000 veteran jobs by 2020.
The main takeaway from the green revolution? Solar Is For Everyone.
Your Weekend Solar Reading
As interest in solar grows, it’s important to consider the limitations that existing solar technologies present. Some solar analysts are calling for a focus on mobile panel development – an existing technology that needs further development for mainstream use. The benefits of mobile, flexible solar panels would be profound, allowing solar installations on homes that previously wouldn’t qualify due to issues with roof size, roof angle, and deployment. The opportunities for movable and flexible panels are endless, and analysts argue that investing in this technology is necessary to sustain increasing demand.