Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Carpe Diem

Yesterday, the Clean Energy Summit kicked off its sixth annual gathering in Las Vegas. Many luminaries gathered at Mandalay Bay to discuss the future of renewable energy and the green economy. And of course, there was talk about the other big reason why the state and nation need to shift to a cleaner and greener energy future.

Oh, and did I mention renewable energy is becoming more affordable? Oh, yes. That's right. Solar power is getting cheaper.

The installed prices for solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems fell by a range of 6 to 14 percent, or $0.30 per watt to $0.90 per watt, from 2011 to 2012 according to the sixth edition of “Tracking the Sun,” an annual PV cost-tracking report published this week by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The report looked at a 208,529-unit sample of residential and commercial solar installations that “represents 72% of all cumulative grid-connected PV capacity installed in the United States through 2012.” The researchers looked at the median installed price of solar panels in three system size groupings. In 2012, this median installed price ranged from $5.3 per watt for small systems, down to $4.6 per watt for systems larger than 100 kilowatts.

Since 1998, installed system prices have been falling thanks to reductions in the costs of solar energy that do not include the panels themselves: inverters, mounting hardware, labor, permitting and fees, customer acquisition, overhead, taxes, and installer profit. Prices have been falling in the short-term because of the decline of the cost of solar panels, which fell by $2.6/W from 2008 through 2012. This represents an 80 percent price drop for PV systems generating less than 10 kW.

As more renewable energy becomes available, the cost is coming down. And as more renewable energy projects come to life, our economy is reinvigorated that much more. This is a true win-win situation...

If we're willing to seize it. So are we? When will we finally seize the day to overcome the climate crisis and our recent economic woes?

It's time. Do we recognize it? Will we seize it?

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