India seems to aim higher and think bigger in terms of its solar energy: from a set goal of 20 GW, the National Solar Mission grew its prospects to 33.4 GW all around the country, according to a report by Bridge to India.
The first step is to have 14.15 GW by 2018. By then, solar energy will have its own respected place on the national grid and more progress will have been made regarding the emissions level.
This will be possible due to the increased production of PV cells and the possibility of cheap imports from China. The final cost is estimated at around 40% less than what it is now.
As mentioned in my 2012 solar energy expectations yesterday, I think India’s got a good chance of shooting onto the solar power map this year. Following up on solar in India, a recent report by Bridge to India estimates that the country will have 33.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar power installed by 2022, far more than the 20 GW that are targeted by India’s National Solar Mission (NSM).
BP Solar is suffering a slow death that is hard to watch and reflects the cutthroat competition that marks an industry that used to be a lot more Pollyanna. The company is closing down and on Tuesday its joint venture partner, Tata Power, said it will buy out BP’s share in their enterprise.
Tata said it will purchase the 51 percent BP had in their Tata BP Solar joint venture, which was formed in 1989 and makes silicon solar panels and offers solar system design services. Tata didn’t disclose the purchase price. The joint venture is among the top three solar cell and panel makers in India, according to GTM Research.
The deal gives Tata total control of an operation that could benefit from India’s emergence as a sizable solar market. India’s central government wants to see 20 gigawatts of grid-tied solar energy and 2 gigawatts of off-grid uses by 2022, and it launched an incentive program in January 2010 that has auctioned off projects. A few states in India also run solar incentive programs. All these efforts are recent, so whether India can hit its goals still remains a big question.
This is, clearly, not a definitive analysis showing that renewable energy such as wind and solar lower electricity rates (or make them increase more slowly), but it is a pretty darn good argument in their favor! And it is also a great piece to share with anyone who thinks renewable energy raises the cost of electricity. Add in the health benefits, job creation benefits, grid security benefits, and environmental benefits and my hunch is that any analysis on the matter would tell us, “Hey, it’s about time we put the Big money into renewable energy!” (More on wind costs and solar costs (.. and solar costs) you might want to take a look at.)
The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters takes off. Unlike solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that convert solar radiation into electricity, these “solar thermal collectors” use the sun’s energy to heat water, space, or both.
China had an estimated 168 million square meters (1.8 billion square feet) of rooftop solar thermal collectors installed by the end of 2010 — nearly two thirds of the world total. This is equivalent to 118,000 thermal megawatts of capacity, enough to supply 112 million Chinese households with hot water. With some 5,000 Chinese companies manufacturing these devices, this relatively simple low-cost technology has leapfrogged into villages that do not yet have electricity. For as little as $200, villagers can install a rooftop solar collector and take their first hot shower. This technology is sweeping China like wildfire, already approaching market saturation in some communities. Beijing’s goal is to reach 300 million square meters of rooftop solar water heating capacity across the country by 2020, a goal it is likely to exceed.
While the passage of time makes solar cost competitive for many Americans right now, the question of cost competitiveness is not a simple one for solar. It depends on location, installation costs, and what kind of power solar is competing against. In Africa, solar has already become cheaper than kerosene in many locations. And now Renewable Energy News reports that solar is becoming cheaper than diesel generators in India as French-company Solardirect has bid to supply the energy grid with solar power at a rate cheaper than the average for diesel generators:
Solar Predictions from SunRun: In 2012 Americans Will See Solar as a Way to Save, Not a Science Project
Home solar company SunRun has taken a look at what we can expect from the solar industry in 2012. According to SunRun, adoption among mainstream consumers will grow as solar prices continue to drop. At the same time, the industry will see significant consolidation and enduring leaders will emerge. Here is a list of SunRun’s predictions:
Here’s our fun infographic of the week, on the top 10 countries for solar power, based on installed solar power capacity
Apple has updated their plans that describe their future headquarters yesterday. The updated Spaceship campus is now planned to include solar panels on its roof, and as ugly as it may have looked through the eyes of Steve Jobs, maybe, the idea is not bad – after all it will generate around 5 megawatts of clean electricity to power the factory where grown-up toys are made.
The Spaceship’s rooftop has been estimated to have around 750,000 square feet. 9to5mac.com, a website specialized in Apple news calculated that about 500,000 sq ft will be used for solar power. Assuming that an average solar panel produces around 10 watts per square foot, that gives the 5 megawatt figure.
Some heartening news broke yesterday, at least if you’re a fan or supporter of clean energy and solar power. SolarCity and BoA-Merrill Lynch announced that they have agreed to terms on financing SolarStrong, a billion-plus dollar SolarCity project – the largest in US history – that could double the number of residential solar installations in the US by installing solar power systems on privatized US military housing communities across the country.
SolarCity is partnering with the leading privatized military housing developers in the US to install, own and operate rooftop solar power installations and provide electricity at a lower cost than utilities. The five-year project plan call for as many as 120,000 installations on military housing units expected to produce up to 300 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity. That would easily make SolarCity the largest provider of solar photovoltaic (PV) power in US history,