Posts tagged “solar PV”
Several years ago, when I was working on my book Power Plays, I spent a lot of time thinking about the future of energy. One thing I concluded was that solar power would become one of the world’s most important sources of energy – if not eventually the most important source of energy. I also discussed this in the 2007 column “The Future Is Solar.”
There are a couple of reasons I still believe this. But first, I should make it clear that it will be a long time before solar power rivals the consumption of oil in the global energy market.
While solar power is growing rapidly, we still use about 100 times as much energy in the form of oil (and about 90 times as much in the form of coal). Further, even though solar power is growing at a fast rate, the absolute growth in oil consumption from 2013 to 2014 was about 3 times the growth in solar power consumption. In other words, even though solar consumption grew at a 38% rate and oil consumption grew at about a 0.7% rate, this amounted to an increase in solar consumption of 11.6 million metric tons of oil equivalent versus an increase in oil consumption of 32 million metric tons. CONTINUE»
Today I begin a series that looks at the recently released 2013 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Because the past two posts have dealt with the Keystone XL pipeline project, I thought it would be a good change of pace to kick off this series by looking at the current global picture of renewable energy. Additional articles in the series will examine the world’s fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
Overall, renewable energy once more displayed very strong growth in 2012. Renewable energy accounted for 2.4% of global energy consumption in 2012, and a record 4.7% of global power generation.
The only renewable energy sector that stagnated in 2012 was the production of biofuels. For the first time since 2000, global biofuels production declined. This decline was primarily a result of a 4.3% drop in the production of biofuels in the US (but I expect production will be higher for 2013).
Today’s article is the 5th and final installment of my graphical look at the recently released 2012 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Previous installments were:
- How Much Oil is Left in the World?
- How Much Oil Does the World Produce?
- World Energy Consumption Facts, Figures, and Shockers
- Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures
Today’s article looks at the explosive growth of renewable energy, but also places it in the context of our overall energy demands.
Rapid Rise in Biofuels Production — U.S. Takes the Lead
The first graphic shows the rapid rise in global biofuel production that has occurred in the past decade — led by the United States. CONTINUE»
This week on R-Squared we have a guest post by Steven Pleging. Mr. Pleging is CEO/President of Quantum Solar Power Corp. I am in general agreement with the points made below; in fact I reiterated several times at this year’s ASPO conference that I believe solar power will be the renewable sector that makes the biggest long-term impact in our effort to wean away from fossil fuels. Since I wrote A Solar Thought Experiment in 2007 (and the follow-up Replacing Gasoline with Solar Power), prices for solar PV have plummeted and made my pricing assumptions obsolete. In the thought experiment(s) I calculated the area required to equal all U.S. electrical generating capacity (and later gasoline consumption) with solar power. Of… Continue»
While I don’t normally put up a post on Saturday, the queue is piling up a bit so I decided to squeeze this one in before Monday’s post. The following guest essay is by Dan Auld. Dan is a San Diego businessman and writer whose work has appeared in hundreds of places and who has won several awards from San Diego press associations. —————————– Un-Analytics: How Google Went Solar September 8, 2011 Google loves talking about the world before analytics — when web owners knew almost nothing about their sites. Nothing useful, anyway. That all changed when a new technology came along that allowed web owners to monitor their sites as much as they wanted. Any time they wanted. Web… Continue»
The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century has just released their annual Renewables 2011 Global Status Report. I was one of the reviewers of the draft report, and therefore got to read and comment on it prior to publication. The report provides a comprehensive overview of global renewable energy sectors, breaking different categories down by total installed capacity and capacity added in 2010. It also ranks the global leaders for many categories. Renewable energy grew strongly in 2010, as the total global investment in renewable energy reached $211 billion, up 32% from the $160 billion invested in 2009. Globally, the capacity of various renewable energy categories at the end of 2010 was: Solar PV – 40 GW Wind… Continue»
The following guest post was written by Daniel Fielding, a freelance writer who focuses on gadgets and the environment. He is the lead editor for Shades of Green, a Green Technology Blog. Roof Shingles Meet Solar Panels By Daniel Fielding “We have the technologies for a global clean economy, but they will not deploy in significant numbers without greater public policy certainty and incentives,” said Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company. “Even without the optimal policy environment, however, we are investing in energy efficiency, in research, development and the deployment of clean technologies, and we are designing innovative financing mechanisms to support investments.” This was one of the many keystone issues discussed at the recent climate conference… Continue»
The following is a guest post written by Dan Harding. Dan has written numerous articles on the solar industry, and is a regular contributing author to CalFinder. ———————————- Will Solar Prices Fall into Grid Parity? By Dan Harding The Holy Grail…in solar-speak, it translates roughly to Grid Parity. It is a goal either mythical or predestined, depending on which side of the solar power movement the speaker resides. A recent surge in supply and technology, coupled with increased government subsidies, are tipping the scales toward destiny, although by no means is the path to grid parity set in stone. The rapid fall in prices for solar panels and other system components in an oversupplied and flooded market could continue home solar… Continue»
I am going to be offline for a few more days, enjoying some time with the family. In the interim, Tom Standing has sent some detailed replies to some of the comments following his posts Arizona Solar Power Project and Ambitious Solar Plans in France. —————————— Here is some additional material in response to a few of the comments that were submitted regarding my essays on the solar project in Arizona and the solar plan for France. First is a general comment about my intent with the two essays. I am merely attempting to contribute some hard-edged reality to many solar proposals that do not seem to have been adequately appraised through the conceptual engineering process. The value and scale… Continue»
The following guest post was written by Tom Standing, a “semi-retired, part-time civil engineer for the City of San Francisco.” In Part 1, Tom took a critical look at a 280 MW solar thermal plant in Arizona. Here in Part 2, Tom examines France’s ambitious solar plans. ——————— The December 1 issue of the Oil and Gas Journal carried a “Quick Take” article about France’s “national plan for renewable energies” that they unveiled on November 17. Their plan includes all the popular ideas for alternative energy: biomass, wind, hydro, waves and tides, with a major emphasis on solar. For now France has 13 megawatts of installed capacity in solar, but the energy minister wants solar to be a whopping 5,400… Continue»