A controversial debate over solar’s impact on coal, a new report that shows rapidly falling solar prices and a major solar development for the world’s energy capital – these are the stories EnergySage has its eye on in this week’s Solar News Report.
Solar vs. coal debate heats up following Energy Secretary criticism
Recent analyses show that solar had significantly more industry growth and created more jobs than coal in 2016, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry is pointing to solar as responsible for the decline of the coal industry. Perry asked his team to take 60 days to investigate the role solar has played in coal’s downfall. While renewable advocates have responded strongly in opposition to these statements, arguing that coal was a failing industry before solar’s unprecedented growth in the past decade, the overall conflict has brought solar into the spotlight.
A popular New York Times article titled “Today’s Energy Jobs Are in Solar, Not Coal” that ran last week outlined the vast disparity between the coal and solar industry as well as the significant contribution renewable sources of energy have made for U.S. power supply in the past year. In 2016, solar created twice as many jobs as coal and came within six percent of matching the job creation numbers from the natural gas industry. Stakeholders on either end of this debate will have key reasons to choose sides. Either way, the numbers are clear: solar is quickly outpacing its fossil fuel counterparts.
Newest Solar Marketplace Intel Report™ shows falling prices, increased adoption
Last week, EnergySage published its fourth Solar Marketplace Intel Report with data covering the solar industry for all of 2016. Here were the big findings:
- Solar prices are falling at a faster rate: Between H1 2016 and H2 2016, gross cost per watt on EnergySage dropped by 6.25%, the greatest rate of decline measured by any report to date.
- Solar has a gender imbalance: The intel report reviewed demographic data in the solar industry and found that 77% of all solar shoppers are men.
- Customers who get more quotes are more likely to go solar: EnergySage users who received 5+ quotes in 2016 were 8x more likely to buy than those who received only one quote.
City of Houston launches 50 MW solar project with ENGIE
This week the City of Houston, TX announced a new clean power effort called the Solaire Holman project that will help the city source more of its energy from solar. The Lone Star State’s largest city will now source 10.5% of all its electricity from solar power thanks to the output of a 50 megawatt (MW) solar farm supplied by French energy retailer ENGIE. The collaboration will come under a 20-year power purchase agreement – a contract where the solar array is owned by the energy provider but is leased to the customer at a competitive price. In this case, the customer is the entire city of Houston. “As the energy capital of the world, it is important that Houston lead by example and show that investing in solar and renewable energy is a critical tool cities must use to prepare for the future,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.