U.S. Solar Industry on Course to Have Record-Shattering Year

Solar Energy Industries Association – September 12, 2013

Green Tech Media Research (GTM) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today release U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2013, the definitive analysis of solar power markets in the U.S., with strategic state-specific data for 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Showing continued growth in the solar market, this quarter’s report finds that the U.S. installed 832 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter (Q2) in 2013, representing 15 percent growth over the first quarter of this year. It was solar’s second best quarter ever.

The largest share of photovoltaic (PV) installations came from the utility sector, with 38 completed projects totaling 452 MW, a jump of 42 percent over last quarter. The residential market experienced a slight hiccup in Q2 2013, breaking its streak of incremental quarterly growth with a flat quarter, and in the non-residential (commercial) market, only 13 out of the 28 states tracked in the report showed quarterly growth. However, the report forecasts a resumption of growth in the second half of 2013, with 4.4 GW of PV expected to come online this year, up from 3.3 GW in 2012, an overall annual growth rate of thirty percent.

As always, the solar market experienced significant variability across states in Q2 2013. California installations increased seven percent over Q1 2013 despite the end of incentives in some states—an indicator of solar’s increasing competitiveness. Overall, 20 of the 28 states tracked in the report are on pace to increase their annual installation of solar energy over 2012.

“Distributed generation is the big story in the U.S. solar market this year,” said Shayle Kann, Vice President of Research at GTM. “We expect significant growth, especially in the residential sector, but the future will be dictated by the increasingly-complex nexus between the solar industry and utilities.”

Looking at the U.S. solar market on the whole, U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2013 forecasts more than five gigawatts (GW) of PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) will be installed by the end of 2013. At that time, cumulative solar PV capacity will surpass 10 GW.

“America’s solar energy industry remains on course to have another record-shattering year,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “Today, there’s more than 9,370 megawatts (MW) of total solar electric capacity across the U.S.—enough to power more than 1.5 million American homes, including the White House.”

“We’re helping to create new jobs, grow the U.S. economy, strengthen our nation’s long-term energy security and fight climate change,” Resch concluded. “That’s a win-win in anyone’s book.”

Key Report Findings:

  • PV installations totaled 832 MW in Q2 2013, up 15 percent over Q1 2013
  • Cumulative operating PV capacity in the U.S. now stands at 8,858 MW
  • 4,372 MW of PV are forecast to be installed in 2013, up from 3,366 MW in 2012, a 30 percent growth rate
  • The utility market completed 38 projects totaling 452 MW; there are currently 4.1 GW of utility-scale projects in construction
  • The residential market was flat quarter-over-quarter, breaking its streak of incremental quarterly growth
  • The non-residential market was down in Q2, continuing a relatively light year for the segment
  • BrightSource Energy’s 392 MWac Ivanpah CSP project is on schedule to deliver electricity to the grid in late 2013

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

Reference article: http://ecowatch.com/2013/solar-industry-to-have-record-shattering-year/

Making Solar Power Work For Your Miami Home

by Jessica Ramer – May 2, 2012 3:00 AM

South Florida, with its nearly year-round sun, is the perfect location for clean, quiet, renewable solar energy. Solar energy is not only eco-friendly, it is great for post-hurricane power outages. Because this form of energy can be a bit expensive, going solar — in whole or in part — requires careful planning.

1. Decide if solar power is really for you. Visit the website sponsored by the Solar Energy Industries Association and use its calculator to help determine how much your solar project will cost you. A South Florida family hoping to obtain 25 percent of its power from the sun typically spends at least $8,000. If you want to go totally solar, the cost will likely be more than $40,000. If you are in the market for a solar hot water heater, you may spend about $4,500. In contrast, a basic electric water heater may be purchased for less than $250.

2. Take advantage of tax credit and rebates. The federal government offers a tax credit for installing solar panels or solar water heaters. An additional incentive is that Florida does not charge sales tax for solar-powered equipment. Remember, too, that you will recoup part of your investment through reduced electric bills. According to Alan Towsley of Sunworks, a family of four will typically use enough hot water to pay for the cost of the system within three to seven years.

3. Reduce your energy usage. You will need to purchase fewer electricity-producing photovoltaic cells if you use less power. Replace standard light bulbs with LEDs, which last longer than standard bulbs and use less power. Unplug items you rarely use, as they consume power even when they are turned off, and invest in good insulation.

4. Do your homework. Research the process of going solar carefully so you know what you may reasonably expect. Get bids from at least three fully licensed companies. Also look into tax credits and rebates from your power company that can make financing the project easier.

5. Think small. Consider buying simple, low-cost solar devices for your home if you are not ready to invest in big-ticket items. You may purchase a good solar cooker for about $300. With a solar oven, you can bake without heating up your entire house — and running the air conditioner to counteract the heat. Another useful item for hurricane-prone South Florida is a solar battery charger for cell phones and laptops. Prices vary by photovoltaic cells used, but some are available for less than $200.

Here are some experts in the area who may be able to help you get started.

Broward Solar Inc.
1090 N.E. 48 Court
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334
(954) 492-9939

Broward Solar, a family-owned business with more than three decades of experience, specializes in standard water heaters and pool heaters for both homes and businesses.

Miami Water Heater
1324 N.W. 29 St.
Miami, FL 33142
(305) 633-2656

This full-service, family owned company has been in business since 1949. In addition to offering conventional water heaters, it also features a full line of solar water heaters and storage tanks.

22251 S.W. 87 Place
Cutler Bay, FL 33190
(305) 232-5580

Established in 1982, Sunworks is a fully licensed and insured solar contractor. This company offers a full line of solar products, including hot water heaters and pool heaters. It also installs photovoltaic cells for people who are looking to go off the grid altogether.

Article by Jessica Ramer
A certified math teacher who has taught at both the high school and community college level. She currently resides in Fort Lauderdale. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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