Solar power – on the fast lane

There were some problems last year for solar manufacturers: for example an oversupply problem. Evenso, good news is that 2012 actually witnessed a dramatic growth in the world’s use of solar power. Especially  the amount of solar panels installed on rooftops in the U.S. soared in recent quarters. This is thanks to new  innovative financing models by companies like SolarCity and low silicon prices — silicon of course being the main ingredient of solar panels.photovoltaic.gif

The most important graphs showcasing the latest in the solar industry – with a focus on the US – and  highlighting the recent development in the photovoltaic world can all be found based on reliable sources such as Energy Information Administration (EIA),  Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA)/GTM Research, NASDAQ or Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Some of the main factors indicating how well the solar industry is doing are:

  • the amount of solar generation between 2001 to 2012 – it has risen a staggering 500% in 2012 alone in the U.S.
  • PV capacity installed; growth of solar panel installation and capacity in the U.S. Solar panel installation is expected to rise nearly 70% this year
  • some solar stocks have faced difficulty this year (think over supply and low prices), but the stockmarket is looking rather well with regard to the solar sector
  • the price of silicon has dropped by half in less than two years. This makes solar panels cheaper to produce and buy and has been at the root of the recent oversupply.

Check out the charts about the above-mentined points here.

So the fact that solar power is a safe bet for those considering to invest is not exactly an insider tip anymre.small_sun.gif

Solar stocks were actually burning up this week, up to a 41% share price boom – $8.68 a share – for some. A pair of massive Southern California solar power plants were snatched up by a  Warren Buffett company. The 579-megawatt pair of money-generators is still under development and are said to form the largest permitted solar photovoltaic power development in the world. In fact, at peak it will equal the output  of a big fossil fuel power plant. The deal between SunPower Corp and MidAmerican Solar, a subsidiary of a holdings owned by Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway, is worth as much as $2.5 billion. Construction of both  solar projects is planned to begin this year, and it is expected that the power plants will feed into the grid by the end of 2015.

Exting stuff that even the most serious business types cannot ignore any longer – and if such development helps reduce CO2 emissins and contributes to the switch to low-carbon economies, who are we to complain? The neccessary change will only come about if solar, wind and other clean energy technolgies go mainstream!

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