Top 5 Good News Solar Energy Stories Today

1. Morocco has announced that the first of a planned five solar mega-plants will go operational in 2015. The North African country, which is poor in hydrocarbons, has awarded the bid to a Saudi-based company. Morocco intends to generate 2 gigawatts of energy from solar, in an ambitious program that will cost $9 bn. It hopes to export some of that electricity to Europe. Morocco is ideal for solar energy, having enormous reserves of sunlight. Morocco plans to get 42 percent of its own energy from renewables like wind and solar by 2020.

2. India has announced plans to add 15 gigawatts of solar-generated power by 2019. Andhra Pradesh alone plans to set up a solar power plant that will generate 1 gigawatt of electricity annually.

3. Solar will likely be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, when some 26% of world energy will come from solar panels.

4. 86% of people in Tanzania, east Africa, lack electricity and many are forced to resort to expensive diesel generators. Increasingly, rural Tanzanians are putting in solar panels to generate electricity. Solar panel installations in Africa have doubled every year starting in 2009.

5. Mexico aims at generating 35% of its energy form solar by 2024 and so has solar-friendly policies. A plant that will generate 250 megawatts of solar electriciy is expected to see 45.

MSNBC: Cost of Solar Panels Falling”

15 Responses

  1. All we need is a “room temperature” superconductor and the deserts can light up the world. and, by taking energy from solar warming, help our global warming problem directly.

  2. And by extensive use of modern technology, arctic drilling and domestic fracking and shale oil recovery will eliminate any US dependence on renewable energy sources. The reliance on Chinese made solar panels and Danish wind turbines will be at an end. Burn baby burn!

    • Don’t you wish, sherm. Or are you really a space alien that wants to increase Earth’s temperature so your species will thrive & humans drop from the heat? Just asking.

    • and, how long will the petro-energy last? Leaving the US in the gutter, crying to China for help?

      If it is snark, sorry, I missed it.

    • Do you understand that all the technologies you mention cost a lot of money, that fact raising the cost of production? Meanwhile solar just keeps getting cheaper. Let the market rule! That means less fossil fuel, more solar.

    • Just being sarcastic, but depending on the November election, maybe a little prophetic.

      I’m firmly in the professor’s camp.

  3. I have worked with solar energy since the 80s (in Panama). Back in those days we used it to power a Baha’i rural development project. Diesel was simply too expensive and difficult to use. The twenty mile trek from the highway was impassible during the raining season. It was expensive though.

    Since that time prices have dropped a lot. It is approaching grid parity and even in Pennsylvania where I currently live, my friends and I have talked about it, solely from a business perspective. When it reaches a pay back period of 5 years without tax credits, then there will be a seismic shift in electrical generation. On a personal and business level I could give a hoot about where the panels come from, whether from the US or China or Iran. I don’t care.

  4. I do get a chuckle about politicians talking about the coal industry in Pennsylvania, though. Pennsylvania has massive amounts of it and most of us have used coal stoves to lower heating costs during the winter. It is incredibly dirty.

    Here in PA we have had two environment catastrophes, Three mile Island is pretty well known but Centralia is not, a coal vein caught fire in the 60s and it is still burning. On the other side of the valley from Centralia is Ashland, a product of strip mining, so stark, it looks like it came straight out of the Great Gatsby.

    I will be thrilled to see a significant conversion to renewables , hydro, solar, and wind.

  5. Morocco is spending $9 billion for 2 gigawatts of solar. For that money they could get 2 gigawatts of nuclear which provide many times the amount of energy from the solar facility. And the nuclear energy would be reliable round the clock energy from plants that last 3 times as long as solar.

    • That is a bit misleading. You are forgetting four things.

      1. Cost of water cooling nuclear can be very high especially where water is a scare commodity.
      2. Ongoing maintenance, which is much higher for a nuclear plant which is very complex when compared with a solar array.
      3. Damages in case of a failure. If you are engaged in risky behavior you are required to buy insurance. This is like buying a house but not buying home owner’s insurance. What happens when there is a failure in a solar energy plant? Nothing. What happens when there is a failure in a nuclear plant? Please visit northern Ukraine or Japan for your answer.
      4. Where do you store the nuclear waste. We still haven’t figured that out in the US. What is the cost of storing nuclear waste for 10,000 years?

      Levelized cost of nuclear is 96, for solar it is 130. Given its advantages I would prefer to pay the the 130

    • Rolf, I have no idea if your numbers are accurate or not. But the one thing that astonishes me is how few nuclear advocates acknowledge the credibility issues that nuclear has these days.

      Nevertheless, one major advantage that solar has is scalability. Large gigawatt solar facilities can be built but many of the poorest families in Africa and Asia can also gain access to small scale solar. But another major advantage is that the cost of solar is rapidly dropping and will continue to drop for years to come.

      Solar also has a sales advantage: people can visualize solar panels on their roofs — but not a nuclear reactor.

  6. Pet peeve of mine:
    “Andhra Pradesh alone plans to set up a solar power plant that will generate 1 gigawatt of electricity annually”
    What does that mean? Watt is a rate like mph is a rate. My car goes 70mph annually! But more likely it goes 10000miles annually. 1 gigawatt hour (or year maybe, big difference).

  7. Once Morocco gets those plants built, Morocco could then demonstrate a solution to the “storage problem” by using electricity to electrolize water and store the hydrogen just like natural gas till sundown and then after sundown re-oxidize the hydrogen to get back the energy invested in electrolyzing the water. The energy “get-back” could be extracted as electricity.

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