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2016-12-15. Are We Entering the Photovoltaic Energy Era?

posted Jan 10, 2017, 4:24 PM by Alan Gould

By John Fialka, ClimateWire, reprinted by Scientific American. For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: ...Nations from all regions reported to the International Energy Agency for the first time that their markets for solar-generated electricity were growing. According to a “snapshot” of this spurt of activity released by the Paris-based agency, nations in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia reported the world market for “PV,” as it’s commonly called, is setting a variety of records. It grew by 25 percent in 2015 as the price for solar panels, the basic unit needed to make electricity, continues a stunning eight-year drop. ...Since 2008, the price of solar panels has dropped almost 80 percent, and the main reason for that, according to the IEA, is China. ... Some large U.S. panel manufacturers have been pushed into bankruptcy, and others appear to be heading in that direction, judging from the dramatic plunge in their stock prices. According to U.S. Department of Energy experts and reports, the remaining two large American panel makers are now outsold by at least six Chinese competitors. China produces 40 percent of the world’s panels versus 20 percent by U.S. companies, and it is continuing to expand its lead. ...In the United States, for example, electric utilities are now the nation’s largest customers for solar panels, constituting 60 percent of the market that was, until recently, dominated by homeowners and commercial buyers of rooftop solar installations....  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-we-entering-the-photovoltaic-energy-era/