Fun facts about renewables
Solar Fun Facts
According to the Department of Energy, the costs of solar photovoltaics (PV) have dropped 200 percent over the last three decades. Costs today range from 10 to 40 cents per kilowatt hours-hour.
The PV market is worth $2 billion today, but is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2010. The annual growth rate of solar PV products has grown by 20 percent annually and is expected to double every three years for the next 20 years.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory underscored the benefit of installing solar PV in our nation's urban centers in a recent report. Seven major outages -- including one impacting the San Francisco area in June 2000 -- were analyzed from the perspective of the quality of the solar resource during the exact times of the power losses. In all but one of the outages, conditions for optimal solar electricity generation were above 90 percent. Interestingly, solar conditions were close to perfect (99 percent) for generating electricity from the sun on June 14th, 2000, the day 100,000 customers in the San Francisco area lost power.
The strongest market for solar PV is Germany, where laws that went into effect in 2001 require payments of 48 cents/kilowatt hours-hour over 20 years for solar PV installations of any size, up to five megawatts. Funding earmarked for the program would pave the way for 300 megawatts over the next five years, a solar market representing $3 billion. In Japan, demand for solar PV has jumped from 20 megawatts in 1997 to 60 megawatts in 2000, a 44 percent growth figure.
A study by U.S. Department of Energy showed that if covered with solar PV panels, the roofs of California's city and county buildings could generate 200 megawatts of clean electricity! School roofs covered with solar PV could add another 1,500 megawatts to the state's peak power supply.
California could theoretically generate all of its daytime electricity from the sun if every available commercial and industrial roof was covered with PV panels!