USA Wind Energy in 2012 has got off to a flying start with the announcement of 3 new wind farms being announced. While BP and Sempra have announced 2 new wind farms with 560 MW capacity with $1 billion in investment ,a Spanish company will build a 189 MW wind farm . Note 2010 was not a great year for wind energy in the USA though 2011 was better . GE will be the Wind Turbine Company supplying turbines to the BP WInd Farms while Accionia wind turbines will be used by the Spanish company . Note there is a severe competition in the Wind Turbine space with the biggest wind company Vestas facing a possible bankruptcy or consolidation in the future. However wind farm developers are having a good time at the expense of the wind equipment companies as prices of wind turbines reach very low levels.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) Prices in New Jersey have been falling at a sharp rate from a high of $600 to $225 as high returns from falling solar panel prices and other tax breaks.This has led to a massive growth in solar installations in the state making it the 2nd largest state by solar capacity.New Jersey installations have crossed 500 MW and made it a huge green job driver in the state.However this boom has made the market driven SREC prices fall quite sharply.Though not falling as sharply as Pennsylvania where SREC prices have become a joke ,they are still low and falling.
US Solar Projects including the 1000 MW Blythe Solar Project is now available for solar developers,installers at fire sale prices.The Insolvency Administrator is looking to sell parts and the whole of the solar project business of Solar Millennium and its US subsidiary Solar Trust of America.Note before filing of bankruptcy,the solar project developer had around 2000 MW of solar projects in the pipeline.
Chinese Solar Panel Producers have become a famous target of an anti dumping petition brought on by Solarworld and other companies.Though US Solar Installers have opposed the move as it will increase the solar panel prices in US,ITC has gone ahead with the investigation.Though the charges of subsidies and efficiency can be debated,the fact remains that US Solar Panel Producers can’t compete with Chinese Solar Panles.Massive industrial overcapacity in China has made the prices of products very cheap and made it difficult for Western producers to compete in most areas such as Chemical,Renewable Energy,Textiles etc.The Chinese win because of their low interest rates,cheap labor,free land,massive government support.
Income Inequality is a Theme that is getting played across the world in developing as well as developed nations.Most of the turmoil in 2011 in the Middle East and the Occupy Wall Street Movement can be attributed to the growing Income Gap between the Have and Have -Nots.The Great Recession in 2008 can also be looked upon as a fallout of this.Gini’s Coefficient which measures the income distribution gap has shown continued deterioration all over the world.The Middle Class is shrinking and growing poor by the day and it is not only the Poor Class that is getting affected.
The Chinese solar panel producers too are facing tough times with many companies running at low utilizations and almost everybody running losses.Some companies with huge debt burdens like LDK are running because of government largesse as they are effectively insolvent for all purposes.Expect more bankrutpcies in the coming year .It will take a very foolish or a very brave company to expand solar capacity this year.
Only USA Solar Installers are having a good time with below cost solar panels availabe increasing the returns and leading to massive increased.It looks like 2012 will be a good year for US solar installers who are expanding rapidly to take advantage of the falling solar module prices.Even Buffett is going all into solar development space acquiring billion dollar project in a classical case of vulture investing.