As 2018 draws to a close, it's a fitting time to look back on the year's noteworthy events and developments that have strengthened Green Solar Technologies' optimism for the future of solar energy. Much has happened this past year; too much in fact to fit within the confines of this article, so we'll cover what we consider the highlights.
We're all aware that the cost of solar energy has plummeted over the years, but 2018 experienced two milestones with the cost of solar energy officially dropping to one-third the cost of nuclear power and one-half the cost of coal (down from being approximately three-times the price of nuclear and coal in 2009). According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory the decrease in price is attributed to technology advancements, increased productivity, and more efficient solar modules.
Shaun Miller, Sales Manager at Green Solar Technologies says, "In my five years at Green Solar Technologies, I've witnessed the costs of fossil fuel utilities rise for American homeowners. At the same time, solar savings have substantially increased, presenting new opportunities for energy independence."
On February 7th, under section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, tariffs were imposed on imported solar crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells and modules in an effort to stave off "dumping" of cheap, foreign solar cells on the U.S. market and provide a more level playing field for U.S. solar module manufacturers.
In the wake of this measure, a PV Magazine article reports, "3.9 GW of new module manufacturing capacity that is currently underway in five new factories, as well as a few hundred megawatts more in several smaller factories and upgrades. Here are the big ones that are expected to come online in early 2019:
Hanwha Q Cells - Georgia - 1600 MW
First Solar - Ohio - 1200 MW
LG Solar - Alabama - 500 MW
JinkoSolar - Florida - 400 MW
Mission Solar - Texas - 200 MW"
Nevada's Public Utility Commission approved NV's long-term IRP regulator-approved integrated resource plan to double its renewable energy capacity by 2023. The utility plans to bring an additional 1,001 MW of solar capacity online with six new power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Additionally, California officially approved their plan to install solar panels on all new single-family homes (including apartment buildings and condos) up to three stories beginning in 2020.
Solar Energy Projects
In November Duke Energy announced the launch of a 24.9-megawatt array on the former Tallgrass Golf Course in Shoreham, Long Island; the second largest solar array in Long Island, but soon to be surpassed by other projects currently under construction. The Tallgrass project, developed by Invenergy and sold to Duke last year, is expected to produce enough energy to power up to 3,500 homes.
This is a small part of a much larger, rosier solar picture. As of 2018, more than 74 GW of large-scale solar projects are either under construction or under development. And, according to SEIA, in 2018, a new solar project was installed in the U.S. every 100 seconds. Five years ago, the solar industry installed less than 5,000 MW of capacity annually. In 2018, the U.S. solar market is double the size — with over 11,000 MW installed
Green Solar Technologies believes that solar energy is a prominent and critical part of a greener, cleaner, healthier future, which is why we are so excited about the tremendous promise for the industry the past year has shown as we move into the next. The advancements in solar in 2018 portend even greater advancements to come as worldwide support for solar energy continues to grow, and GST is proud to play its role in these significant events.