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The solar market in the United States has been growing rapidly in recent years but a new market research report puts it in better perspective. The market surpassed the 10 gigawatt installed capacity in solar PV by the end of the second half 2013. The NPD Solarbuzz North America PV Markets Quarterly August issue contains this insightful finding. The US will only be the fourth country to attain this watershed milestone after Germany, Italy and China.
The findings have been published by Solarbuzz to set the pace for the Solarbuzz North American Regional Conference to be held San Jose, California from August 7 2013. But the news which will be of most interest to those attending the conference is that the solar market is experiencing even more rapid growth as of the present. Over the next one year and a half the sector will grow at an impressive 80% rate to reach 17 gigawatts of installed solar PV capacity.
The US solar market has mainly benefitted from declining installation costs as solar panel prices, while remaining relatively low, have stabilized for the last two years. Over the same time, the average installed system price of residential solar energy system has decreased from $6.00 per watt to about $4.25. The average system price for installing a utility scale solar PV project is now pegged at $3.00 per watt, which is comparable to costs in the European solar Market.
“The US solar PV market growth has been stimulated by an increased range of solar incentive programs at the state level,” added Sunsong. “While the far-West and Mid-Atlantic states dominate the 10GW installed, the Southwest and Southeast regions have recently made strong contributions. Other regions however, such as the Great Plains and Great Lakes, remain largely undeveloped, creating further market upside going forward.”
In his first comments since assuming office as the new US Department of Energy secretary, Ernest Moniz has given the first indications that he still retains his renowned bullish confidence on the promise of solar energy. He has said that solar will become an even bigger industry, much faster than what many people expect it to attain such prominence. Secretary Moniz was speaking in his first employee Town Hall meeting at the end of last week.
The comments were welcomed by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) as being in line with the association’s commitment to offer solar power as a workable renewable energy alternative. This came despite the fact that SEIA has been seen as treating Moniz’s appointment with a measure of cautious optimism considering his equally bullish support for natural gas. Indeed, Moniz used the occasion to state once again that he believed natural gas is a perfect fit as a “bridge fuel”.
Moniz has been leading research initiatives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) resulting to key developments in natural gas as well as nuclear energy and renewables. SEIA has shown a tacit understanding of the Moniz-model which, though accepting the great promise of solar energy, still allows that solar alone cannot serve to meet all the future energy requirements of the United States of America.
Tom Kimbis, vice-president of strategy and external affairs at SEIA said: “Secretary Moniz is first and foremost a strong proponent of renewables. We’re very much looking forward to working with him on the build out of renewables in the United States. He is a great fit to run the department of energy when we need to use all of our resources in the US to bring our economy up to speed.”
For a long period of time, people looking to transition from fossil fuel power to green alternatives such as solar panels found themselves with very few alternatives. For starters, the available green energy sources were priced so highly as to be unaffordable to most families. In addition too, it was very rare to find systems available at a scale small enough as to make sense to the average homeowner. In the recent past, this state of affairs has changed dramatically as we shall see presently.
Over a period of about a decade today, solar panel prices have reduced by incredible margins such that solar is now the most realistic alternative energy source for homeowners and small businesses. However, not all solar modules are the same. As you look for a solar energy system that fits in with your needs and budget, you should be systematic in your considerations. To make the process easier, we have carried out a comparative review of popular solar panels and selected the best four after considering factors such as affordability, efficiency and innovative design.
Best bang for your Buck: RENOGY
RENOGY is a standout brand when it comes to efficiency and custom design. Their PV modules are designed to work just as well on residential rooftop solar panel systems as they are for large, utility scale ground mounted solar plants.
The company has been making a big push for the utility solar energy market and this has meant that they have managed to reap economies of scale that come with such endeavors. As such, when you buy RENOGY solar panels, you can be certain of getting high performance at a price that will come as a pleasant surprise for such superbly designed photovoltaic modules.
Most Innovative: Canadian Solar
Canadian Solar is a brand that is synonymous with quality and innovative product design. Their newly launched AC solar panels are a testament to this philosophy. They are designed with inbuilt solar microinverters which optimize performance and make the process of installation a simple DIY affair.
Canadian Solar’s PV modules also come standard with Zep Solar’s revolutionary rail-free, auto-grounding system. With this technology, it takes about 75% less time for installers to put the modules on your roof. All the panels have been passed for efficiency and quality using the most stringent industrial certification standards.
Most Efficient: Trina Solar
Trina Solar is widely reputed to be the largest manufacturer of solar products in the world. It is easy to see why their products are such a hit with solar energy system installers all around the world. The company has an award winning research and design system in place which ensures that all the modules leaving the factory floor are optimized for the highest efficiency even in inclement weather conditions.
Each Trina Solar module comes with the patented Trinasmart Optimizer and Monitoring technology integrated to give you a product that has guaranteed high performance. In effect, by choosing Trina Solar, you will buy photovoltaic solar panels which have added value, much more efficient and with guaranteed safety features.
Best Priced: Perlight Solar
If you are looking for quality solar panels on a bargain, you can’t do better than betting your fortunes on Perlight Solar Panels. The pocket friendly prices of these solar panels should not take away from the fact that these are modules designed to give you robust performance and long life at above par performance.
As a company that has been providing energy solutions for three decades, Perlight Solar is a brand that is trusted the world over for its innovative approach to value added equipment and systems. Perlight Solar’s modules are manufactured in the United States; assuring you high standards and conformity to your home electrical system. Their quality and pricing model has earned them recognition by Home Power Magazine as the best solar panels of 2012.
Quite a loaded question, eh?
The answer is most likely similar to other similar questions. What holds us back from exercising? From taking our vitamins? From eating healthy? Or any other similarly-sensible, good-for-us but no-fun types of tasks or projects.
Inertia. Or the absence of a concrete action plan. Or lack of proper (strong enough) motivation. Or possibly its the handy-dandy rationalization (I don't have the time/need/money, etc)