Experts at industry summit say solar power expanding faster than ever


Last week, the U.S. marked its one millionth solar panel installation, 40 years after solar energy was first developed. Analysts say it’ll only take two years to install another one million.

CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reports from Scottsdale, Arizona on why solar power is winning the alternative energy race.

Solar industry leaders around the world are gathering in Arizona this week for a Solar Summit to discuss the latest trends in the industry.

“By 2020, we’ll be generating enough electricity to power 20 million homes. So we are at the place where solar takes off,” Rhone Resch, president and chief executive of the Solar Energy Industry Association said.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy; Various sources via Statistia.

The summit comes just a few weeks after more than 150 countries committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Industry analysts say that sends a powerful signal that developing countries will be counting on solar to help them meet their targets for years to come.

“Government incentives are most critical for growth. In the US… in Europe, they pulled back with tariffs, and it destroyed the market,” Senior Analyst at GTM Research Mohit Anand said. “COP 21-it gives them a framework of support for regulations…especially in financing.”

Source: Bloomberg; UNEP via Statista.

China is leading the world in solar expansion. It plans to triple solar energy production in the next four years-adding as much as 20 gigawatts every year.

India is a distant number two, but it is making solar power the cornerstone of meeting its Paris climate commitments. India also has the advantage of receiving 300 days of sunshine each year.

Source: Environment America; Frontier Group via Statista.

One reason solar is soaring is that it’s less expensive and more efficient than ever. Installing these panels in the U.S. costs 70 percent less than it did in 2009. Industry analysts at the summit say government incentives also play a major role.

“The Prime Minister enhanced the target from 20,000 Megawatts to 100,000 Megawatts – a fivefold change in India’s target. It is not that India would like to do it under any pressure or anything. On its own, it thinks it is good for the globe. And it thinks it is good for the country,” India’s Secretary of New and Renewable Energy Shri Upendra Tripathy said.

Analysts said countries such as Chile, Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines also have higher quality sunshine than northern European nations do, which means one solar panel can produce more electricity.


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