Amidst Gloom, Union of Concerned Citizens Report Finds Rosy Future for Solar
Solar Power | September 22, 2014 | Posted by Fred Greenhalgh
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In our blog we like to avoid talking about drought, ocean acidification, rising oceans and political gridlock surrounding climate change. Instead, we prefer to focus on solutions, and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) felt the same way in their latest report, Solar Power on the Rise.
The themes found in the UCS report are consistent with our experience in the field, namely:
- Solar power is increasingly affordable. The cost of a solar PV installation has dropped by roughly 50% since 2005, and now with easy to access solar financing, you can effectively purchase solar for no money at all.
- Solar power is viable throughout the United States. Maine’s available sunshine is only about 30% less from what you would expect from the same system in Arizona, and is a full 30% more sunny than Germany – the world’s leader in solar adoptions.
- While solar is already growing organically due to market signals, smart solar friendly policy should be adopted to foster the industry’s continued growth. Namely renewal of tax credits, utility-level standards for clean energy, carbon standards on a federal level, and utilities recognizing the full value of solar. Utilities also need to accept that solar energy is not going anywhere and should change their business models to suit.
A few other factoids:
- Solar employs more than 140,000 people in the United States (The Solar Foundation 2014).
- Solar installations increased by more than ten-fold between 2006-2013 (SEIA and Vote Solar 2013).
- The solar industry is investing almost $15 billion in the U.S. economy annually (GTM Research and SEIA 2014c).
ReVision Energy has been thrilled to be at the frontlines as solar has pushed from a fringe technology to an increasing part of the mainstream, and is equally thrilled to be part of a wild ride in the future as solar adoption accelerates.
Rapid adoption of solar, in combination with supporting technologies like a smarter grid, efficiency measures and distributed energy storage, is the most viable way that exists to thwart the worst effects of climate change, and will generate huge economic opportunity in the doing. Money can stay in working people’s pockets that was previously sent to the utility or spent on fossil fuels. Solar jobs can’t be sent offshore and provide opportunities for tradespeople, office staff, engineers and creative people alike.
A distributed grid is a more resilient grid, giving regions more control over their daily energy needs and providing better stability during natural disasters. There have been plenty of naysayers about solar, but, the proof is in the power – look at the growing number of solar homes throughout the United States, look at the implications of climate change, look at the costs of conventional power, and then look at the rapidly declining costs of solar electricity… and get ready for a solar future!
Further Reading on “Solar Power on the Rise”
This is a great report to send along to friends or family that are still skeptical about solar. Here’s the link: Solar Power on the Rise
And some impressive charts: