Energy research firm New Energy Finance completed a recent study that found solar power costs to have declined -50% over the last year. New technology and mass production methods are finally bringing solar power costs down to the level where more people can afford to install solar grids.
This is what alternative power enthusiasts have been hoping for over the last decade. Mass production always brings costs down and then mass acceptance produces the volume to push costs even lower.
New Energy Finance also found that alternative power from wind and geothermal also declined but to a lesser degree because of the extra equipment required to install those systems. Wind systems still declined 18-20% below 2008 levels. Having a 100ft tall wind turbine over your house may never come into vogue but solar panels are popping up everywhere. Geothermal, where holes are drilled into shallow heat spots are to localized to really benefit from mass acceptance.
Geothermal cooling is becoming widely accepted. Holes are drilled around your house or office building and pipes/hoses are sunk into the holes where the ground is cooler. A liquid is circulated through this network of underground pipes where the heat is removed and the cool liquid is returned to the surface to cool your living space. It is nearly maintenance free once installed.
Back in the solar space New Energy found that thin-film solar will be about 25% cheaper than crystalline silicon technology in 2010. When combined with group discounts, government tax incentives and homeowner financing strategies the renewable energy conversion wave may actually turn into our next market boom. Solar stocks have been so badly abused as they fight for market share and survival that investors have been avoiding all but the largest.
The following list is not all inclusive but a representative cross section of the sector.
For current news and quotes go here: