As 2016 comes close to ending the reports are coming in and it looks like 2016 will be the record year for solar. Likewise, they’re showing the future looks bright for the industry as new campaigns are aimed at supporting solar power crop up and the cost of solar keeps falling.
Indeed in the US solar costs fell up to 17 percent in the second half of 2016. That’s according to a new report from GTM Research. The biggest prices drops were in commercial solar power but even rooftop solar saw a significant price drop of 8.6 percent in just half a year.
Perhaps that’s why nearly 50 percent more solar power was installed in 2016 than in 2015, the previous year’s record holder. That's according to Mercom’s Global Solar Forecast November 2016, the consulting firm found that the world will install roughly 76 gigawatts of new photovoltaics this year, up from 51.2 gigawatts installed in 2015. Moreover, global solar installations are expected to fall slightly to 70 gigawatts in 2017.
On the other hand, some are already challenging future expectations of the solar industry. For instance, the Energy Watch Group called into question the findings of the International Energy Agency’s Energy Outlook. The outlook anticipated that the international solar industry will grow annually through 2030, but the Energy Watch Group called the findings too conservative and observed that prices for solar power have already fallen below the outlook’s estimates in the future.
Thankfully solar has more supporters than ever before. At least two new campaigns were to support solar in the US were launched recently. Last week, Environment America introduced a new report Blocking the Sun and launched the advocacy campaign “Stand Up for Solar.” The campaign will fight against efforts to block solar legislation by fossil fuel interests and their supports like the Koch brothers and utilities.
One of the key things utilities and the Koch’s have continued to attack are net-metering policies, which they contend are too expensive and cost rate payers more money. However, another recent report from Environment New York, a chapter of the national organization, found that net-metering policies don’t give rooftop solar customers the full value of the energy they produce. The report found that the value of power generated by rooftop solar systems should be 16 cents per kilowatt hour. However, on average they’re reimbursed at 13 cents per kilowatt hour.
Despite some legacy efforts from conservatives or conservative backed organizations, increasingly solar power is becoming less of a partisan issue. For instance, conservatives in South Carolina led by former South Carolina Congressman J. Gresham Barrett (R) launched a new solar advocacy organization, the Palmetto Conservative Solar Coalition (PCSC).Tweet