Global installations of renewable distributed electricity generation, including solar photovoltaics (PV), small-scale wind, and stationary fuel cells, are set to triple in the next 5 years, reports Pike Research. The news comes on the heels of confirmation that Australia was the world leader in rooftop solar PV installations for 2011, bringing the nation’s cumulative installed capacity to over 1.7 gigawatts (GW).
The findings of the “Renewable Distributed Energy Generation” report forecasts projects installations will reach 63.5 gigawatts (GW) capacity a year in 2017 – with close to 232 GW of distributed renewable energy infrastructure added in the next 5 years. This follows on from massive growth within the sector in 2011, with 20.6 GW installed; representing $66.5 billion in revenues globally.
Pike research highlights the growing problems associated the traditional centralized model of power generation, transmission, and distribution. The new model of Renewable Distributed Energy Generation (RDEG) sources, such as home solar power, largely addresses these issues due to the lowered requirement for energy transmission.
“In a growing number of cases around the world, renewable distributed generation technologies are more cost-effective than centralized installations that require transmission to population centers,” says Pike research analyst Dexter Gauntlett.
This is especially relevant to solar panels as systems reach their peak output during peak consumption periods, bringing down the cost of wholesale electricity through what is known as the solar merit order effect, as well as saving money ‘behind the meter’ at homes and businesses with solar PV systems installed.
Previous solar power incentives have rapidly decreased costs for renewable energy equipment, a trend that will continue to affect the traditional centralised energy generation model. According to the report, solar panel production capacity reached an estimated 50 GW by the end of last year and module costs dropped from roughly USD$4.00 per watt in 2006 to USD$1.00 per watt in 2011.
Source: Pike Research
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