News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

Will Solar Eclipse Wind Power In 2013?

CAPTION | Photo: Christine/Flickr/Creative Commons License

According to one energy executive, solar power will likely outstrip wind in the pace of new installations in 2013. This is as a result both of uncertainty late last year over the fate of the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the ever-decreasing price of photovoltaic solar panels.

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According to Ehren Goossens at Bloomberg Businessweek, Duke Energy Renewables president Gregory Wolf says that solar panel installations in 2013 will very likely outpace the 3 or 4 gigawatts of wind power capacity he expects will be installed in the U.S. in 2013.

Part of the reason is that the wind industry didn't know until the very end of 2012 whether the PTC would be extended through 2013, and thus rushed to complete projects last year while scheduling fewer for this year. About 13 gigawatts of wind capacity were installed in the U.S. in 2012. Wolf also points out that PV prices have dropped by 60 percent in the last two years, encouraging more solar.

All in all, says Wolf, as much as 3.9 gigawatts of solar PV could be installed by the end of the year, potentially beating out new wind installations. That's more than twice the amount the U.S. had installed in October 2012: at the end of Q3 2012 solar capacity in the U.S. totaled 6.4 gigawatts, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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