Where Are We Now? A Brief Overview of the Current Solar Industry


Although there have been reports of a decline in renewable energy investment over the past few years, the outlook for the current solar industry has been improving. In 2012, a total of 31 gigawatts of solar capacity was installed, while 39 gigawatts of capacity was installed in 2013 even though overall investment in solar energies fell by 23 percent between the two years. According to the annual “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?” report released by the Pew Charitable Trust, this is related to the steep decline in price of manufacturing solar systems, in addition to a general move toward more investments in large-scale solar installations, which are more cost-effective overall.


Investment in solar projects declined in several major markets in 2013, including the U.S., China, and most notably Europe, which saw a decrease of forty-four percent compared to the previous year. The decline in investment reflects lower technology costs, but the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014 Report—produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance—also cite policy uncertainty surrounding the renewable energy agenda in many countries. The countries of Spain and Bulgaria instituted retroactive subsidy cuts that hampered the investment in solar, while worries about future policy decisions are cited as a reason for delayed investment in Germany, India, the U.K., France, the U.S., Sweden, Poland and Romania.


China and Japan made most of the gains in solar capacity additions, providing more than a third of Asia’s overall capacity. Smaller, but important additions in solar capacity also moved forward in the developing nations of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. These projects are significant because investments in solar are being made even though they do not have subsidies to support them.


China currently manufactures over half of all the solar photovoltaic cells on the world market, with Taiwan being the second-largest manufacturer. Currently over 85 percent of solar cell manufacture uses crystalline silicon technology, but other materials may be introduced to the market soon.  Researchers at Oxford announced in December 2013 that they are working on a material called perovskite that matches the efficiency of most silicon solar cells on the market but would be much cheaper to manufacture.


About GreenShine: http://www.greenshine-solar.com/

Greenshine New Energy, LLC. Specializes in developing and manufacturing customized solar powered lighting systems for a wide range of lighting applications. At Greenshine we specialize in solar street lights, garden lights, and lawn lights for outdoor applications. Our lights can be installed anywhere, especially areas where grid tied electricity is not available.

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