2014: The Year Solar and Wind Energy Turned the Tide?

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Solar PV array

2014 Showed just how much MetalMiner loves renewable energy.

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Whether it was India committing to build the world’s largest solar park, or England looking to harness the power of its tides to generate hydro power, we scoured the globe for the latest in renewable, clean energy.

Costs for both solar and wind power plummeted this year, raising the oft-promised specter of the elusive grid parity with coal and nuclear production. While we caution readers not to believe all of the hype, the news about lower-priced solar, in particular, was certainly welcome.

Renewables_Chart_December-2014_FNLTop Renewable Energy Stories of 2014

1. The Solar Panel Trade War

Since July, the US has been the site of a proxy trade war between Germany and China over the price of crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels and what, exactly, constitutes dumping. Germany’s SolarWorld has a subsidiary based in Portland, Ore., and insists that the Chinese are dumping cheap silicon panels here. China, and many US installers, say they SolarWorld is trying to inflate prices and its own bottom line by forcing competitors such as themselves out of the market.

Just two weeks ago, the Commerce Department finalized import duties on Chinese and Taiwanese silicon. Stay tuned to this fight, as it now moves on to the International Trade Commission.

2. India’s Solar Future

The World’s largest democracy has very quietly raised $390 million from private investors to fulfill its ambitious renewable energy goals. The Modi government there has also committed to building 25 Ultra Mega Solar Power Plants (UMSPPs) by 2022.

3. Cheaper Fossil Fuels

The crash in crude oil prices certainly won’t push consumers to drive more fuel efficient cars or turn down the thermostat, but it will also reduce construction and production costs for things like wind turbines and solar panels. It’s too early to tell the exact effect of long-term low oil prices on renewables, but it might not be as negative as some expect.

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