Fox News has published an article which mentions the future of the solar energy industry is in doubt, with subsidies falling and the backlash of utilities against net metering. Even as solar demand in the world has quadrupled to almost 30 GW in 2013, Fox news is doubting the industry survival. They have conveniently forgotten:
b) China has increased its target to 10 GW of solar capacity in 2013 ( for comparison purposes USA does not have a cumulative capacity of 10 GW)
c) Solar prices have crashed by almost 85% in the last 4-5 years
d) Solar Energy is the only energy whose costs are going down on a secular basis
e) Solar Energy is now set to surpass wind energy installations in the US itself
f) More and more countries are realizing the importance of solar energy. Even poor countries like India are set to install as much solar power as the US. This debunks the subsidy argument. While solar energy requires subsidies, in 3-4 years time it would not require that and by 2020 it will be cheaper than coal and oil.
I am surprised that mainstream media still comes out up with such stupid articles, which are so totally devoid of facts. Harping that utilities are facing problems is again very stupid as the very existence of utilities are threatened by the distributed democratic nature of solar energy. Once solar energy + energy storage becomes cheaper than the power grid electricity prices, then there will be no need for utilities and their regulated protected services.
For decades, supporters of renewable power have been singing the praises about the possibilities of capturing energy from the sun. The solar industry got a huge boost during President Obama’s first term when the stimulus package threw billions of dollars in subsidies at solar power companies in hopes of dramatically increasing production. Generation has increased in that time — but now federal, state and local incentives are being slashed, leading some to conclude the future of solar power in the U.S. is dimming. “The fundamental problem is it’s not economically sustainable,” said Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center, a think tank in Washington state. Federal stimulus incentives have run out and are not being renewed. States are also slashing their solar power subsidies. Oregon recently cut its solar business tax credit by 99 percent. And utilities all over the country are complaining about lost revenue.
Inadequately Researched Media Stories in the Past
Crisil’s Report about Solar Industry in India
Solar Industry research is quite abysmal especially in India where research agencies and market analysts have very little clue of what’s going on in the global solar industry. They are not only unaware of the current state, they have absolutely no clue about the future. However the mainstream media which is equally clueless keeps churning out these useless research reports.
Crisil had come out saying that Indian solar projects would lose money at Rs 8/ kwh and the prices would rise in the coming days. Read my thoughts on solar myths and misinformation. Crisil which is a S&P subsidiary (of the AAA US sub-prime crisis fame) has come out with a report saying that 13-14c/Kwh costs for solar power is risky for companies to bid during solar auctions.
CSE is dead wrong About the Reason behind the Failure of the Indian Domestic Solar Panel Industry
CSE blamed the death of the Indian solar panel manufacturers on imports of cheap thin film panels from the USA, backed by cheap long term loans by Exim bank. However the reason is dead wrong and CSE report lacks in a basic understanding of the global solar panel industry. It fails to mention that some of the thin film solar panel exporters of the USA are now bankrupt as well (Solyndra, Abound Solar). The only survivor First Solar has stopped selling solar panels to 3rd parties because it cannot compete with crystalline solar panels from China. Solar panel manufacturers are going down like nine pins around the world due to a massive solar panel glut fueled by cheap loans and massive expansion in China. This has led to a crushing of solar panel margins and revenues and led to the death of hundreds of solar companies.
Another thing it fails to mention is that these cheap loans have been instrumental in setting up many of these solar power plants. Note many of the solar farms in JNNSM are running into losses as the interest rates are too high in India making the capex heavy solar plants unprofitable. Without these cheap loans and cheap solar panels, the solar costs of Rs 8/kWh would have been impossible. While CSE is a good organization and has done a lot for the Indian environment movement, this report is sadly lacking in decent analysis and depth.