3-28-2013 Trends in Solar Energy and the Solar Energy Industry
Trends in Solar Energy
The upward trends in solar energy have been very encouraging. With the price of solar panels (also referred to as modules) dropping by up to 30%, and with the increase in efficiency of the energy conversion process, it’s no wonder the solar energy industry has the highest current growth rate of all renewable energies, with growth projected to continue in the coming years. With Congress guaranteeing profits, government incentives make buying and installing the modules a solid investment, especially for businesses looking to use clean energy.
Inside the Industry
Due to worldwide economic issues in 2011, growth of the solar industry actually slowed that year leaving manufacturers with too many solar modules and too few buyers, a large reason the price of the modules dropped so significantly. However, this wound up being beneficial, because it made buying and installing PV (photovoltaic) panels more appealing to both homeowners and business owners looking to lower energy costs with a lower required initial investment.
With the recent increase in sales, clean energy is looking to be one of the biggest markets for new jobs in the U.S. Worldwide governments including the U.S keep increasing the financial benefits for companies to make use of renewable energy sources, and these incentives coupled with the low cost of materials to produce the solar cells themselves will ensure that this trend of more solar-related jobs and more solar industry sales will continue.
According to CEO of Clean Power Finance Nat Kreamer, the consolidation and specialization of the industry will increase, leaving “fewer all-in-one corporations and a more widespread distribution of supply chain services.” “We expect module manufacturers to consolidate to achieve economies of scale and downstream companies – which sell, install and finance solar – to create comparative advantage by focusing on what they do best,” Kreamer explained, which should help keep individual solar energy companies stable.
Trends in Other Countries
Saudi Arabia is going to become a big player in the solar energy industry by procuring 54,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030, with most of it coming from PV solar modules. Currently, Germany is number one in the solar energy market and is predicted to stay there due to the strengthening of the German economy, but competition from emerging solar energy companies in South Africa, Europe, and Latin America will help to strengthen the industry as a whole.
According to the recently released IHS Solar Emerging Markets Study, an additional 40-50 countries will soon be joining the global solar industry, with South Africa, Thailand, Chile, Romania and Brazil being five of the most appealing markets, followed closely by: Argentina, Ecuador, Turkey and Mexico.
The Middle East is being proactive in its interest in renewable energy because of the rapid depletion of natural gas and oil resources that currently fuels their economy. Solar energy will help keep them competitive in the energy business, while creating new jobs for their currently high percentage of unemployed citizens.
2013 and On
2013 will be one of the biggest years ever for the solar energy industry, with Saudi Arabia planning to start a large procurement of solar energy during the second half of this year, and the renewable energy markets continuing to emerge almost everywhere in the world. Industry growth is predicted to steadily increase both this year and for the foreseeable future. The industry itself is continuing to mature, and is looking to be the most likely candidate to replace the fossil fuels that we rely on today.