Last week was another great week for solar power as the Department of Energy announced that the cost of utility-scale solar power has met the SunShot Initiative’s goals three years early. So it’s no surprise to find that the US had its best second quarter ever this year or that corporations are turning to renewable energy faster than ever, with one program reaching its goals three years early as well.
In 2010, then President Barack Obama (D) launched the SunShot Initiative, a goal to reduce the cost of solar dramatically by 2020. For utility-scale solar that was reducing the cost to $1 a watt. Last week the SunShot Initiative announced that the cost of utility-scale solar in the US is now as low as $1.11 per watt…and it’s continuing to fall.
The US solar industry had its largest second quarter ever installing 2.4 gigawatts of new solar power, that’s 8 percent higher than last year’s second quarter, according to the lastest US Solar Market Insight Report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. Also, state markets are also changing. Last quarter, for instance, Texas added 24 percent of its solar power—380 megawatts, making it one of the leading states for solar power. Moreover, of all the new energy generation installed in US in in the second quarter 22 percent was from solar power.
The use of renewable energy by companies also is increasing. The RE100 campaign surpassed its goals 3 years early as well. The campaign, led by the Climate group, aimed to have 100 companies pledge to source all their power from renewable energy sources by 2020. With the addition of Estée Lauder, Kellogg, Clif Bar and DBS Bank, RE100 now has 106 of the worlds’ leading companies that have agreed to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy.
Last week Mosaic announced that it made an agreement to sell $300 million of its solar loans to Goldman Sachs Bank. Under the deal Goldman will make a series of purchases of the loans over time. In purchasing the loans it frees up money allowing Mosaic to invest in more solar rooftops across the country.
Despite all the great stuff going on for the solar and renewable energy industries they are still facing hurdles. Diversity, especially at the top of the solar industry, is still lacking. The 2017 US Solar Industry Diversity Study from the SEIA Women’s Empowerment Committee and The Solar Foundation found that 36 percent of all senior positions in the solar industry, those earning $75 per hour or more are held by white men. Men of color represented 28 percent of senior workers in the solar industry, 21 percent are white women and 4 percent are women of color.
The Energy Scholars program is aiming to help create tomorrow’s solar and renewable energy industries. The program, created by Net Impact, OneEnergy Renewables and 3Degrees will help mentor graduate students to prepare them for careers in renewable energy.Tweet