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On-site Solar Poised for 22% Annual Growth

solar-retail-rooftop2For retailers, supply chain operators and other small- to medium-sized businesses, decentralized electricity generation via rooftop and small-scale commercial solar photovoltaic panels represents one of the best ways to reduce conventional electricity generation and related infrastructure impacts, according to a new report from Pike Research.

Because on-site solar panels – or so-called distributed photovoltaics – are modular, systems of less than 20 megawatts in size are easy to add to both rooftops and solar gardens. The size of the distributed PV market is expected to grow from 3.6 GW in 2008 to 9.7 GW by 2013, or 22 percent compounded annual growth, according to the executive summary of the report, “Distributed Solar Energy Generation.” (PDF, registration required)

Still, compared to conventional electricity generation, distributed PVs represent just a drop in the bucket, as global electricity generation is expected to grow to 7 TW in 2030.

In fact, just four percent of global electricity generation in 2007 was considered renewable. And of those 160 GW, only four percent is distributed renewable.

The silver lining for distributed renewable energy is that it represents 16 percent of new capacity additions.

The report suggests that the market value of distributed PV sales will grow from $30 billion 2008 to nearly $60 billion by 2013.

This chart shows a comparison of the pros and cons of distributed solar and wind.


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2 thoughts on “On-site Solar Poised for 22% Annual Growth

  1. Suggestion: When comparing PV and small wind using a $/W meteric can be misleading in residential / small comercial cases because of the energy generation per rated power (kWh/kW) – akin to capapcity factor. PV capacity factors are readily predictable and won’t vary much by scale. Wind capapcity factors however are harder to predict and generally the larger systems (100 kW) do better than smaller systems (10kW or less). We have seen wind systems in the 10 kW or less range with capapcity factors lower than the PV average. Also the installed $/W for a small systems (10 kW or less) are roughly in order with PV costs. The larger wind systems scale better and are generally more cost effective.

  2. I would point out that developing distributed renewable energy on a scale comparable to “planned” centralized, location constrained renewable development would decrease the need for associated transmission and ancillary infrastructure development. The weaknesses that are pointed out in your table apply to centralized RE sources as well. The obvious differences of centralized v distributed is how the benefits are “distributed.

    Certainly comparing PV to Wind based on $/W of capacity is a very grey area,
    for all the reasons pointed out by the previous commenter.Additionally regional forecasting difficulties are more likely to apply to wind.

    I would suggest a review of your footprint data on PV. I own a 2KW STC rated array on 150 sq.ft. Perhaps you are using thin film figures?

    Ron Dickerson

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