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Published on April 12th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan

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Falling Solar Panel Prices Resulted In Global Boom In Solar In 2013, Less Total Investment

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April 12th, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
 
In 2013, solar power capacity grew 26% while investment in solar power dropped 23%. There’s only one way that divergence makes sense — there was a continued drop in installed solar panel prices in 2013. Old news to CleanTechnica readers, but news that we continue to share, as it’s some of the most important news of the decade.

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the United Nations Environment Programme goes into more details on renewable energy prices and renewable energy investment in 2013. Climate Central‘s Bobby Magill has written a great on the subject, so here it is as a repost:

Cheap Solar Power Pushes Renewables Growth Worldwide (via Climate Central)

By Bobby Magill Follow @bobbymagill The share of total global electricity production generated by renewable energy is climbing, mainly because solar photovoltaic systems are becoming less expensive, according to a report released Monday by the United…

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • hammad

    Using solar panels get electricity and preserve the environmentsystem

  • drevney

    From this data and my calculation, and I’m a far for being sure about it as I did not see the figure anywhere, is that the world electricity share of solar is between 0.5 – 0.8%, does that sound correct to you?

    Crossing the 1% milestone would be very significant. I guess if what I wrote is true that would happened in about year from now.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Share your math. What are you using for global electricity consumption and for global CF?

      I’ve found nothing about percent of world production but did find – “PV now covers 3% of the electricity demand in Europe”

      http://www.epia.org/index.php?eID=tx_nawsecuredl&u=0&file=/uploads/tx_epiapublications/Market_Report_2013_02.pdf&t=1397428655&hash=0548a5a92983fa02f5bf8e57a7351c8a779fb868

      • Ronald Brakels

        I don’t know about Europe as a whole but Italy gets 7.8% of its electricity from solar, Germany 6.2%, and Greece 5.8%. Australia may get 3% of its electricity from solar this year and currently the state of South Australia gets about 5.25% of its electricity use from rooftop solar and by the end of the year may be getting 6.5% of its electricity from solar if, and only if, the installation rate flatlines and stays the same as last year. And while feed in tariffs this year will be set to “theft” solar has proven remarkably resilient to cuts. Or not that remarkably seeing as distributers keep jacking up the cost of grid electricity and then whining about how terrible rooftop solar is because it prevents them from getting all the money.

  • Bob_Wallace

    “31 gigawatts in 2012 to 39 gigawatts in 2013 despite total investment in solar falling 23 percent from $135.6 billion to about $104 billion”

    $4.37 billion per GW of solar in 2012.

    $2.67 billion per GW of solar in 2013.

    23% less invested.

    26% more solar.

  • Phil McCracken

    I used to think wind power was our only answer but with the amazing drop in cost for solar, I now believe that will become the dominant power source. Every appropriate roof covered with solar panels will not only shade the roof but provide power when it’s most needed.
    But, how many years does it take to erase the true environmental cost of production in environmentally lax China plus the international shipment?

    • Bob_Wallace

      “But, how many years does it take to erase the true environmental cost of production in environmentally lax China plus the international shipment?”
      How does one answer that question?

      First, are you sure that China is still creating a big mess while manufacturing solar panels? My understanding is that things were being cleaned up but I’ve heard nothing about the progress made or not made.
      Then the “international shipment” part. Minimal. Solar panels repay the energy it takes to manufacture them in less than one year (thin film) or two years (silicon).

      If a lot of bunker oil was being used to ship panels from China then one would expect North American manufacturers would have more ability to compete.

    • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

      International shipping is incredibly energy efficient. Don’t count on shipping to add very much to the environmental footprint of solar panels.

      An indication is 10 g CO2 per ton-km. A 200 W solar panel weighs around 15 kg. Suppose we need another 15 kg for packaging (cardboard, pallet, container) then that is 200 W per 30 kg, or 33 * 200 = 6600 W per ton.

      From Shanghai to Rotterdam is 22,000 km. So 22000 * 0.01 kg = 220 kg of CO2 to transport 6600 W of solar panels.

      On a south facing roof in my country 6600 W will yield 6600 kWh per year. Our grid mix produces 600 g of CO2 per kWh. That works out to a saving of 4000 kg CO2 per year. 220/4000 * 365 = 20 average days to recoup the CO2 emissions from shipping in not-so-sunny Holland.

  • Banned by Bob

    And the Virtuous Circle continues.

    Shale may impact Renewables here in. N. America until costs come down further, but there is no reason to see Solar in particular do anything but grow in the high energy cost regions particularly across Asia.

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