Report: Renewable Energy to Expand by 50% in Next Five Years

Global supplies of renewable electricity are growing faster than expected and could expand by 50% in the next five years, powered by a resurgence in solar energy.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar, wind and hydropower projects are rolling out at their fastest rate in four years.

Its latest report predicts that by 2024 a new dawn for cheap solar power could see the world’s solar capacity grow by 600GW, almost double the installed total electricity capacity of Japan. Overall, renewable electricity is expected to grow by 1,200GW in the next five years, the equivalent of the total electricity capacity of the US. Continue reading “Report: Renewable Energy to Expand by 50% in Next Five Years”

Why Is U.S. Demand For Solar Panels Booming?

Solar modules prices in the United States have reversed in recent months the trend of steady declines of the past few years, as many U.S. solar companies are hoarding panels to take advantage of the full solar subsidy that is set to step down beginning next year.

Due to high demand, the price of solar modules has recently increased by 10 percent from earlier this year, Reuters’ Nichola Groom writes, citing data from energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Although actual installations and in-service dates could be years away, solar power developers have been stockpiling panels in order to take advantage of the 30-percent solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in the United States, which, under current legislation, is set to step down to 26 percent in 2020, to 22 percent in 2021, and to drop to a permanent 10-percent beginning in January 2022.

Developers who begin construction or spend at least 5 percent of a project’s capital expenditure this year are eligible to get the 30-percent tax credit regardless of when their solar power plants actually start producing electricity. Continue reading “Why Is U.S. Demand For Solar Panels Booming?”

Renewable energy: UK consults on paying homes and businesses for excess generation

The ‘Smart Export Guarantee’ would replace the export tariff and apply to small-scale renewable sources such as solar panels

The government is seeking views on introducing a new scheme that would pay households and businesses for surplus electricity produced by small-scale renewables such as solar panels.

Under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) proposal, which would replace the export tariff under the Feed-in Tariff scheme, larger energy suppliers – with more than 250,000 domestic electricity customers – would have to pay consumers for the excess power generated and exported to the grid.

It suggests smaller suppliers may also opt to voluntarily provide a SEG tariff. Continue reading “Renewable energy: UK consults on paying homes and businesses for excess generation”

Renewable energy could green Sahara

(Courtesy: L. Brian Stauffer)

Installing large amounts of wind and solar power in the Sahara Desert and neighbouring Sahel would increase local temperatures, rainfall and vegetation. That’s according to climate modelling by a team from the US, Italy and China.

“Previous modelling studies have shown that large-scale wind and solar farms can produce significant climate change at continental scales,” says Yan Li of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US. “But the lack of vegetation feedbacks could make the modeled climate impacts very different from their actual behaviour.”

With that in mind, Li and colleagues included vegetation response in their models. They were among the first to take this approach for wind and solar farms.

The simulated renewable energy plants would cover more than 9 million square km; the wind farms would generate an average of around 3 terawatts of electrical power and the solar farms around 79 terawatts.
Continue reading “Renewable energy could green Sahara”

Renewable energy is creating US jobs twice as fast as any other industry

Even as some people would like to see a rebirth of the coal industry in the US, it’s renewable energy that keeps generating good news.

Over the next decade, jobs for solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians will grow twice as fast as any other occupation, according to a Bloomberg analysis of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’s biennial employment projections released yesterday. Continue reading “Renewable energy is creating US jobs twice as fast as any other industry”

Roll-up solar panels power Flat Holm island, Cardiff

Roll-up solar panels are being used to help power an island off the coast of Cardiff.

The Rapid Roll system allows flexible solar panels to be unrolled like a carpet from a trailer in two minutes. The pioneering technology aims to meet demands from increased tourism and environmental and logistical challenges on Flat Holm.

The hope is for the technology in future to offer a solution in areas hit by natural disasters like hurricanes. This is the first time the system has been used in Wales and it is the first long-term deployment of the technology anywhere in the UK.

The technology was developed by John Hingley, managing director at Renovagen, based in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. He came up with the idea of scaling up the concept of mobile solar technology while away travelling five years ago. By making the panels rollable, a much larger power capacity can fit into a smaller box. Continue reading “Roll-up solar panels power Flat Holm island, Cardiff”