Clean Power Nice Solar Stats

Published on February 23rd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Nice Solar Stats

February 23rd, 2014 by  

The US Department of Energy (DOE) put out a nice press release recently that we never got to covering. There were several stats in it that I thought were worth sharing & bookmarking for later reference. Have a look:

  • “In just the last few years, the U.S. has seen remarkable increases in clean and renewable energy – doubling the amount of energy that we produce from solar and wind and supporting a strong, competitive solar supply chain that employs American workers in every state.” (Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz)
  • “Today, the utility-scale PV industry is more than 60 percent of the way to achieving SunShot’s target of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. In the United States, the average price for a utility-scale PV project has dropped from about $0.21 per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to $0.11 per kilowatt-hour at the end of 2013.” (DOE)
  • “… installed solar capacity has grown ten-fold from 1.2 gigawatts in 2008 to an estimated 13 gigawatts today.” (DOE)
  • “… the President has set a goal to double renewable electricity generation once again by 2020.” (DOE)
  • “Over the last three years, the cost of a solar energy system has dropped by more than 50 percent – helping to give more and more American families and businesses access to affordable, clean energy.”

Nice. Share the love.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media: Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these companies and feels like they are good companies to invest in.

  • Banned by Bob

    Nice. I would like to see the payouts laid out in IRR or some other sort of rate of return fashion. That way, people can better internalize the returns on this type of investment vs their market alternatives.

    • RobS

      The problem with producing IRR is it is heavily dependent on retail rates vs feed in tariff rates and there are often a dozen different IRRs from each utility alone depending on chosen plans, FiT, TOU metering etc. These factors change from city to city and occasionally even suburb to suburb. Such calculations are a nightmare.

      • Banned by Bob

        Seems like one would have the same issues with calculating a 20 yr payback

        • RobS

          Yep. all payback or return calculations suffer the same problem, makes it is far simpler to present the raw cost data and let people apply it to their specific situation to calculate their own IRR/payback.

  • tibi stibi

    the strange thins is that i don’t see any price drops in the online shops in holland for the last year or so….

    • RobS

      A lot of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers took some major profitability hits in the last few years when the market got over saturated, many are using last years and some of this years decreases to boost profit margins back to sustainable levels. Expect to see the slow steady fall begin again soon.

      • tibi stibi

        sounds true. i hope you are right in the fall to begin again soon 🙂

  • Doug Cutler

    Somebody should start showin’ some gratitude . . . and I don’t just mean to all those geeky engineers comin’ up with this stuff, though they definitely deserve it too. Hey people, its time to get back to some good old fashioned SUN WORSHIP! (Don’t freak. I’m talkin’ metaphorical scientific pantheist style.)

    Anyway, we gave up on the sun all those years ago but the sun never gave up on us. GO SOLAR!

    . . . oh ya, GO SOLAR ENGINEERS!

    • Haha, love it 😀

      • Matt

        Zac, I would like to take a shot at formatting some of the data charts to make thing a little clearer. I’m wondering if you could share your raw data for PV (installations/year, cost/year), wind(installations/year, cost/year). I’m really more interested in installations. World or country/region would work. Looking at your Solar/Wind fact pages I know you have the data extracted. Just trying to be a good engineer “do more work with less energy”. At one time there was contact link on this site, but it appears to have disappeared.

  • Omega Centauri

    Doubling again by 2020? What a timid target. For something thats been doubling in 2-3 years, even a quadrupling in six years would represent a slowdown.

    • RobS

      2-3 years? US grid solar production in 2013 showed 113.8% growth over 2012, 2012 showed 138.9% growth over 2011. We are more than doubling each year for the past 2 years, not every 2-3 years and most certainly not every 6 years. It really is staggering how out of touch with reality the DOE is even when they’re seemingly being optimistic. They even point out that there has been a tenfold increase in 5 years then predict a doubling in the next 6…staggering.

      • Jim Seko

        The growth curve of solar over the last few years is one of my greatest reasons for optimism about the future.

        • RobS

          yep, the DOE/IA, politicians and fossil utilities are about to get a serious schooling in the power of compound exponential growth.

    • Matt

      “… the President has set a goal to double renewable electricity generation once again by 2020.” (DOE)
      double ALL renewable electricity generation? Wind while growing fast has not been as fast as PV. Same for geothermal, tidal. Also if that includes damns, then those are growing much slower Plus have a much bigger base. So a doubling of Total renewable would still be big. They state that solar has grown 10 fold (10X) since 2008.

      • RobS

        This year will be the first year in history when non hydro renewables will out generate hydro renewables. Will be interesting to see if the EIA changes its EPM data presentation away from the hydro/non-hydro renewable format to a “Total Renewable” then each subgroup listed including hydro alongside all it’s previously baby brothers.

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