Solar power sheds bright light on the United StatesWe Mean Business
American journalists have been scrambling to create new, catchy headlines about solar power in the last two weeks as a sudden wave of solar industry news has surged across the country.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the Clean Power Plan, growing analysis of the state of the U.S. green economy has shown several signs proving that the low-carbon movement is getting even stronger this year in the U.S. and spreading across the world.
Renewables dominate early 2016
A report issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission revealed that renewable energy accounted for all of the new generation capacity brought online in January 2016, with newly installed 468 MW of wind and 145 MW of solar power.
This is a continuation of a trend that began last year: , the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released an updated version of its monthly electric power report, which showed that 64% of all new electrical generating capacity installed in 2015 came from renewables.
This came as a surprise, as six months ago the EIA predicted a drop in new power generation from renewables by 1.8% in 2015. We are expecting more surprises in the sector as we move closer to closing the first quarter of this year.
Solar industry predicted to boom in 2016
A new report produced by GTM and the Solar Energy Industry Association predicts the North American solar industry will grow 119% over last year and expects 16GW of solar PV to come online.
This sudden growth is predicted to largely come from utility PV, which is expected to triple this year. The factors behind the surge are numerous, including 1) falling PPA prices across the U.S., a growing trend among utilities that are replacing ageing coal power plants with utility PV, and 2) the extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit, which was approved at the end of last year.
The report also shows that, for the first time,new electricity generation capacity from both solar PV and wind projects exceeded new installed capacity from natural gas, a continuation of what the authors describe as “ongoing trends.”
The market trends are clearly skewing renewable. But what is even clearer is where businesses stand on the low-carbon path in the United States.
Over 365 companies and investors across the country showed support for the Clean Power Plan, because they know it will drive innovation, create new jobs, and put their business in a strong position in the global economy.
These leaders reiterated their position last month, calling on governors to implement the Clean Power Plan using building blocks of efficient, renewable energy and stressing the need for stable, low-carbon policies.
Elysa Hammond, Director of Environmental Stewardship at Clif Bar & Company, was among the leaders that voiced this call for action, stating: “The Supreme Court decision will not deter us from doing what is good for people’s health and the health of our planet. We are not alone in this commitment; we stand with hundreds of other companies that support a clean energy future.”