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Big news!(Reuters)   US solar installations are up 85 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from the previous year, according to an industry report that prompted a research firm and a lobbying group to raise their capacity forecasts for the year.

A total of 506 megawatts of solar power capacity was added during the first three months of the year, the second highest quarterly total to date, according to the report by GTM Research for the Solar Energy Industries Association.


"This really shows the beginning of what we think is going to be a breakout year for the U.S. solar industry," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The news comes just weeks after the US imposed new tariffs on imports of solar equipment from China, the world's top manufacturer.
GTM said that following the first-quarter data, it had raised its forecast for U.S. installations to 3,300 MW this year, up from the 2,500-2,800 MW, it had predicted in March.

That figure is well above the 1,855 MW of solar panels that were installed in the United States in 2011.

That would likely make the country the fourth-largest market in the world this year, with about 11 percent of the world's total.

The growth seems due to the lowering of installation pricing and manufacturing.  Always a good time to spread a bit of good news!

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 06:29 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kosowatt and Good News.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm one of them (47+ / 0-)

    Getting 4Mw of solar panels.  And I've increased my electricity from wind power from 50% to 100%.  So at least my electricity will be all green.

    "Mitt Romney has more positions than the Kama Sutra." -- me "Social justice is love, made public." -- Cornel West

    by billlaurelMD on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 06:35:18 AM PDT

  •  Got my solar panels a few years ago (20+ / 0-)

    Should have waited for the cost curve to bend. Well, at least the monthly bill is averaging about $12 per.

    •  Always a good time to put up solar panels Mike n/t (10+ / 0-)

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 06:54:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  did Stimulus funding help this increase? (5+ / 0-)

        "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

        by MartyM on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:37:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  seems to be more from tariffs on China imports (6+ / 0-)

          that are bringing costs down here.

          Macca's Meatless Monday

          by VL Baker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:41:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I thought the tariff thingy just began recently (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, JeffW

            and not during the first quarter.

            "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

            by MartyM on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:54:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Retroactive 90 days from ruling (0+ / 0-)

              Suggesting that once exempt inventory is worked down price will increase. Don't quite follow the diarist's reasoning on this; if domestic suppliers have room to reduce pricing after imposition of tariffs, then it would be kind or an argument against tariffs, no?

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:04:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The tariff is actually probably going to keep (6+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            John Crapper, koNko, ferg, JeffW, filby, ScienceMom

            prices somewhat elevated in the short term.  I don't think it'll matter much, though, as cheap production in China is just one of many reasons for rapidly dropping solar power prices.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:00:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  What? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The tariffs are expected to have exactly the opposite effect of raising prices. It this point it's difficult to gage the extent of this since these newly enacted tariffs were retroactive 90 days to date of import and older inventory would be exempt, but how would this possibly lower prices?

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:00:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  if it stimulated investment in domestic production (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              capacity, then over the long run it should push down the price, but that's admittedly a stretch.

              •  But .... (0+ / 0-)

                Oh, never mind. German and US subsidies are one thing, Chinese another.

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:54:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  i'm not much of a free trader (0+ / 0-)

                  so i'm OK with all countries using tariffs to protect their own strategic industries. china included.

                  (i do think it's foolish for china to keep its currency low, given the strategic threat its dependence on export markets poses to long term chinese stability. not as foolish as america facilitating its own deindustrialization, esp. WRT strategic industries, just so that the currency can be strong for the financial sector's benefit, though)

                  •  They can be productive or nonproductive (0+ / 0-)

                    In this case, I suspect they will be the latter given:

                    (a) the prospects to use this as a productive tool to give US pv producers breathing room to catch up - which would depend on like policies to prime the pump (China, after all, took a policy page out of the EU book) - seem nowhere on the horizon, and;

                    (b) the rather excessive rate of the tariffs seems to be punitive toward companies that have worked hard to develop their technology and build their competitive market positions, and;

                    (c) this is very likely to raise pv prices, hurting consumers and industry growth while putting profits in the pockets of established US pv producers while not really helping start-ups who still have the same technological, financing and business challenges, and;

                    (d) this effectively renders Chinese producers non-competative under any reasonable terms in the US market so is picking a trade fight I don't think they can back away from - nor would I have them do so; in fact, I think it would be a mistake for China to take this lying-down.

                    If this preliminary ruling is upheld as is, I think Chinese pv producers will only have the option of exiting the US market, taking a loss (which would really put the concept of "dumping" on it's head and be unsustainable for long) or building plants outside of China to service the US market.

                    It happens that Trina Solar is building a plant in Canada that will open soon, but even so, they have announced their intention to litigate the ruling in the US. Suntech has a module assembly plant in Arizona and could, if it found financing, add a cell fab to that but it is a huge investment and would be a redundant one at this point given the state of the pb market and their existing over-capacity (something all pv producers are struggling with at this point).

                    So I seriously doubt this will do anything good for the solar industry in the near term.

                    However, I am quite sure it made another sector of the energy very happy: oil companies. Not difficult to imagine them sniggering up their sleeves at this ruling.

                    But this is not what bothers me most, which is this:

                    The American and EU solar industry looked-down it's nose at Chinese pv start-ups for years, blathering-on about their superior technology and acting as if they were entitled to sell it to the world, and indeed preaching the gospel of that as a given.

                    Then came Suntech. Founded by a Chinese scientist who worked for years in the University of New South Whales developing new technology, then returned to China to start-up a company to commercialize it, struggled through the start-up, improved the technology and process, and made it a success. To get an idea of this check these links.

                    (Factory Tour video of left side)
                    Pluto Cells

                    Merit, not mediocre.

                    And this, it seems, is unacceptable.

                    So I'd like to know why EU and American companies that got their start thanks to even greater amounts of EU government largesse (and who also manufacture cells in Asia to take advantage of lower labor costs) get a free lunch while the ITC cuts the legs off of Chinese producers.

                    And, yes, I think it's because they are Chinese. To be frank, Western people still prefer their Chinese (and Indians, and, and) poor and subservient, and being otherwise still seems to be a threat.

                    And that is sad. And short-sighted. And if that points to the real reason for these tariffs, then I don't think they will help for long.

                    Solyndra gave the US solar industry a black eye that really hurt, and this, I think, blackens the other eye in a strange way.

                    All that said, I really hope Obama wins a second term and then put clean energy (and rational industrial policy) high on the agenda because it's important to the future and because, with all of it's comparative advantages in the field, the US pv industry should be doing better (GE soon may prove that). It should be able to stand on it's own two feet.

                    What about my Daughter's future?

                    by koNko on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:57:46 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Another take (0+ / 0-)

                      A colleague of mine suggested another possibility about this case that is kind of interesting and may have some merit.

                      She thinks:

                      (a) that the US has decided it cannot compete with conventional wafer based solar technology, and:

                      (b) is betting on the now emerging technology of thin Si substrate technologies such as Si on glass, where the US has an R+D lead and where the DoE has focused loan guarantees (e.g., Abound, SoloPower, 1366, etc.), therefore;

                      (c) is throwing up roadblocks to Chinese producers to hold the market until these companies get a foot hold.

                      If so, it would actually demonstrate some creative, strategic thinking, if highly protectionist behavior.

                      Not sure if this theory holds water, but there is a logic to it.

                      What about my Daughter's future?

                      by koNko on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:24:45 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  I want to totally get off the power grid but (10+ / 0-)

    I don't know where to start....Help anyone?  And I'm in Central Florida. Orlando Area

    •  Depends how far off grid you want to go... (8+ / 0-)

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:08:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL. Not that far for sure. Just want to power (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko, ozsea1

        the house with solar and have a solar water heater. Then I'm good.  

        •  Do the solar water heater first (5+ / 0-)

          Cheap, reliable, fast return on investment.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:05:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. any suggestions on brand, etc? n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            •  I only know Chinese brands (0+ / 0-)

              We have the most in the world, actually. China started promoting solar water heating about 30 years ago as part of the rural electrification programs to bring electricity, running water and hot water to poor rural households, but found solar heaters required so little power that they soon became the dominant technology.

              A good system may include a circulator so you can heat rooms and make hot water at the same time. If you live in an area that freezes, consider a vacuum tube based heater.

              This is our best brand, Hi-Min, which has many patents on the innovations they have made. You can browse their English site to use it as a primer, and then find a US made heater without much trouble, they are made all over the world (as I know, the US has a large market for swimming pool heating).

              But I will recommend one part of the system that is critical where there is a recognized global technology leader I can fully endorse based on 6 year + trouble free operation.

              For the circulation pump, chose Grundfos (USA site), they rock. Very excellent, worth spending a little more. Quiet, reliable.  Despite they are made in Denmark, these pumps have big market share in China because the reputation is so good, I don't hesitate to recommend this brand.

              You should get an energy audit before buying and understand the return on investment of different systems and brands, I think reputable companies will offer this.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:52:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You might want to consider (0+ / 0-)

          Solar thermal -many out of state companies like Hydroflex in PA have good systems and cheaper and more efficient than PV panels in long run

          The FOX is a common carrier of rabies, a virus that leaves its victims foaming at the mouth and causes paranoia and hallucinations

          by WingNutCracker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 05:08:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This isn't going to end well. (32+ / 0-)

    We nearly doubled solar installations in one year, but the Sun itself isn't getting any larger.  Haven't we learned anything from our energy history?  

    Romney '12: Bully for America!

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:01:13 AM PDT

  •  Any idea how much of this is manufactured (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, JeffW

    in the US?

    I think this is great.  But, China has been dumping PV below cost.  And, as you mentioned, there will now be a 31% tariff on those panels.  So, will the boom continue at higher prices?

    In some ways, it is nice to see Americans have embraced those artificially low prices on Chinese PV and have ramped up installs.  We should just tell China to send as much PV here as they can at those prices!

  •  This right here is my main reason for voting for (16+ / 0-)

    Obama and Democrats.

    I know that they will continue to support and try to expand upon the expansion of renewables while most Republicans will just try to block it and kill off the industry.  And that right there would be an unmitigated disaster in so many ways.

    Tipped and recced for the good news.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:48:11 AM PDT

  •  Amazing. (6+ / 0-)

    The economic future really could be green and decent if Republicans and Romney do not stop it in its tracks. despite his history in MA Romney will do just that because the Kochs and their many Congressional minions will tell him to do just that.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:58:47 AM PDT

  •  Solar Installs hurting the Poor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beach babe in fl, soros

    From the NYTimes.

    Solar Panel Payments Set Off a Fairness Debate


    Published: June 4, 2012

    As he and tens of thousands of other residential and commercial customers switch to solar in California, the utilities not only lose valuable customers that help support the costs of the power grid but also have to pay them for the power they generate. Ultimately, the utilities say, the combination will lead to higher rate increases for everyone left on the traditional electric system.

    “Low-income customers can’t put on solar panels — let’s be blunt,” said David K. Owens, executive vice president of the Edison Electric Institute, which represents utilities. “So why should a low-income customer have their rates go up for the benefit of someone who puts on a solar panel and wants to be credited the retail rate?”


    But the affected utilities, the three large investor-owned companies operating in the state, say solar customers have been getting a free ride on the backs of regular ratepayers. They use the grid essentially as “a big battery” without covering the cost to maintain it, said Steven E. Malnight, a vice president at Pacific Gas and Electric.

    And as more solar customers, often big power users, pay the utilities less, the utilities say they will raise rates to recover their costs from a shrinking customer base.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:00:16 AM PDT

    •  Lame BS (12+ / 0-)

      The energy companies love to whine when they don't get a free ride from the taxpayers.  Other taxpayers subsidize the energy industry in many other ways.  Taking power (money) away from the electric companies and encouraging the formation of energy co-ops is a good thing.  
      If our politicians and/or energy companies really cared about the rates that the poor pay, then they could easily find a solution in the pockets (ie., paychecks and bonuses) of the energy co. CEOs.

      •  This is not a trivial issue. When technology (0+ / 0-)

        transition subsidies result in higher unit cost for the output, there will be disparate impact on low income consumers.  This could be addressed with offsetting consumption subsidies in the tax code or other mechanisms, but it does not help to pretend the problem does not exist.

        The same concerns arise around carbon taxes for transportation fuels.  Those of us who can afford it should pay much more for gasoline and diesel, but the poor will need some some kind of assistance.

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:57:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Suggestion (7+ / 0-)

          You may consider:

          - adoption of new technology usually starts at the top of the economic ladder and works it's way down as prices decline.

          - any reduction in fossil fuel use for renewables is a net gain and supports a fledgling industry by priming the pump.

          - history of the user who posted the comment that started this string who is consistently an anti-green propagandist and finds any excuse to throw red herrings into the discussion.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:13:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think the point is that any action that (0+ / 0-)

            increases the price of an essential commodity will have disparate impact on the poor, and economic justice arguments should not be divorced from environmental concerns.  Long term benefits from reduced fossil fuel consumption accrue to everyone, but that is a hard case to make for someone at the margin who must chose between food and heat or medical care and transportation.

            In this case new electrical generation technology adoption is being subsidized in ways which increase the unit cost of power for those who depend on the traditional grid.  This has been an issue in places like Germany as well.

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:25:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  full accounting (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              brasilaaron, koNko

              the way to solve this problem is to make carbon users pay the full cost of that use, .i.e. a carbon tax with that revenue applied to subsidize renewable power.

              If we fail to deal with this problem hundreds of millions of poor people in Bangladesh and other coastal areas will get permanently flooded out of their homes.

              •  Solving this problem might buy Bangladesh some (0+ / 0-)

                time, but the majority of coastal flooding there is due to local factors including land subsidence, rather than global sea level rise.

                Where are we, now that we need us most?

                by Frank Knarf on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:05:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  oh (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Is there some kind of magic barrier around the Bangladesh coast that will protect them?  Land subsidence counts but sea level rise doesn't?

                  •  It just means that if we could halt sea level (0+ / 0-)

                    rise due to AGW, Bangladesh would still have problems with local sea level rise due to other causes, such as tectonic subsidence and sedimentation patterns. It would, however, slow the process down.

                    Having said that, it is not clear that anything we do will halt AGW related sea level rise any time soon, so they had better plan for it.

                    Have you followed the recent shenanigans about sea level  in North Carolina?

                    Where are we, now that we need us most?

                    by Frank Knarf on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 05:22:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  If you do a full accounting (0+ / 0-)

              Of lifecycle costs and subsidies I am very confident renewables are the cheaper and more cost-effective and less harmful and more socially just solution verses fossil fuels. Ditto mass transit, another "anti-subsidy" target.

              What to get outraged about social and economic injustice? Just click the link above and start reading.

              Please, do the accounting. The deeper you go, the less I have to argue the point.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:31:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not disagreeing with you about long-term (0+ / 0-)

                or life-cycle issues.  Just trying to point out the immediate problems facing the poor when their energy costs increase.  I've said many times that I favor higher taxes on carbon based fuels and more funding for renewable technologies, so long as assistance is provided to those at the economic margins.

                Where are we, now that we need us most?

                by Frank Knarf on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 11:18:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Daym U R logic ARRGGGGGG (0+ / 0-)

            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:54:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I agree completely (4+ / 0-)

          but its a matter of how much higher.

          I think at this point the electrical generating companies are hyping this up.  I can't believe there is a significant cost impact on low income customers right now.

          If growth keeps up, maybe in 10-15 years this is a serious problem.  And it doesn't hurt to nip it before it becomes one.  But I noticed there is no quantification in the article to indicate how big it might really be.  And since only 0.1 percent of electricity generation is charged back to the utilities, how high can it really be?

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:53:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This isn't really true though. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ScienceMom, ozsea1

          Almost all electric companies separate their fees on your bill.  There are "delivery and connection charges" which are not related to the amount of power you use.  Even if you use zero, you still pay the fees.  This is intentional to separate the cost of maintaining the infrastructure and the cost of the actual power generation.

    •  Hyperbolic first sentence. (6+ / 0-)

      It isn't happening yet, but could become an issue in the future.  But there's a really simple solution:

      Lower net metering refund rates 10 to 20% at some point, so that part can be used for grid upkeep.

      With solar power becoming ever cheaper, that won't be a problem.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:12:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  interesting Patricia, the transition to clean (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PatriciaVa, Jerry J

      energy is going to have some bumps..this sounds like one.
      This will have to be addressed perhaps with subsidies for solar to those who can not afford.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:13:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not fair (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That some people have the money to install solar panels and some do not.  These should be fully subsidized by the Federal Government.  Anither example of the haves vs the have nots.

    •  This is the problem with social engineering (0+ / 0-)

      Someone always comes out on the short end of the stick.

      If solar power makes sense economically for a family.. then fine.  Install it.  But we shouldn't be forcing power companies to buy the temporary jolts of power from these installations that do nothing but wreak havoc on the grids and supply infrastructures.

      I'm not even opposed to subsidies for installing solar.  But don't punish the power companies, or especially the low income users.

    •  Absurd (6+ / 0-)

      People getting hurricane or tornado protected buildings make tornadoes more dangerous for the rest of us!!!!!!!

    •  Fascinating article but no one (6+ / 0-)

      quantifies how much it hurts the poor either.  I'm naturally concerned if it is a big burden, but what is it really?  It can't be much currently since:

      So far, customers using net metering account for just a sliver of the overall electricity market — about 0.1 percent in 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration.
      Also different states are handling these issues much differently so it isn't the same across the US.  So yeah, it smells a bit like overhyped BS right now to me.

      And I have absolutely no sympathy for this:

      But the affected utilities, the three large investor-owned companies operating in the state, say solar customers have been getting a free ride on the backs of regular ratepayers. They use the grid essentially as “a big battery” without covering the cost to maintain it, said Steven E. Malnight, a vice president at Pacific Gas and Electric.
      It seems like a valid point but electrical generators have used our atmosphere like a dumping ground - including CO2.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:49:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not quite that simple... (5+ / 0-)

      But you probably know that.

      Individual solar generation often time adds power to the grid during peak usage times (during the day when factories and air conditioning are running).  This added power allows the utilities to lower the amount of generation for peak load.  This saves the utility companies money.

      So solar power is not simply a total loss for utility companies.  In many respects solar power is a benefit for utility companies.  

      Fascism: The conservative notion that killing people makes them work harder

      by madtowntj on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 10:16:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, like electric companies really care about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, brasilaaron
      Solar Installs hurting the Poor
      poor people.  In a pig's eye.  

      Solar (and wind) power actually keep price increases down.  Electric companies generate power from a variety of sources; coal, nuclear, hydro and natural gas, in a mixture that is different depending on the region, the time of day and the season.  Power prices are a combination of the costs of these sources; some of them cost less than the retail price of power, others cost less.  Naturally, the electric supplier will use the lower-cost sources first and will supply power from the more expensive ones only if more power is required.  As long as solar or wind is less expensive than the highest-priced electric souce, it will limit the average cost of electricity and thereby limit electric price increases.  Renewable electricity for which the electric company pays retail rate (or slightly above) is by definition cheaper than the highest-priced source.

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:41:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  LOL, LOL eom (0+ / 0-)

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:53:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good news if we can keep it going (6+ / 0-)

    President Carter had a green energy plan in the 70's that was killed by Reagan.  Obama has made a lot of progress but we are still falling short of other countries.

    Germany wants to be 100% renewable by 2050.  That is a dream to me and they will do it in the next 38 years.  Japan, China and the UK are all moving in that direction...

    We need to dream big too.

    People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism.

    by democracy is coming on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:27:46 AM PDT

  •  CO2 capture (5+ / 0-)

    I didn't feel like making a whole diary for this subject, but BBC is reporting that CO2 can be taken up by "metal-organic" molecular structure:
    BBC CO2 metalo-organic molecule

    Couple this technology to coal/nat.gas burning plants and we could eliminate tons of CO2 from ever reaching the atmosphere.  Attach these to the catalytic converter of cars and we could reduce CO2 emissions even more.  Establish CO2 capture facilities and we could actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere.  Lots of good options, if we can muster up the political will-power to do so.

    •  saw that brasilaaron, thanks. going to be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, JamieG from Md, brasilaaron

      interesting to see how we move ahead with C02 capture.. think we have a long way to go politically.   That's why a carbon tax makes such good sense.  If it helps companies to save money they might just invest in something that will help the environment.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:56:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, no. Needs gigatons of metal-organics (0+ / 0-)

      to absorb the gigatons of CO2 we generate by burning gigatons of carbon fuel. Carbon has a molecular weight of 12, and CO2 about 44, so each ton of carbon results in 3.7 tons of CO2.

      This would drive up the cost of the metals and the organics, and then where would you put them when they are used up?

      Carbon sequestration requires a place to put the carbon. We cannot bury it. Injecting it into old gas and oil wells would produce earthquakes, because we have to make room for the CO2 from coal, too. We are already getting earthquakes from underground disposal of fracking fluids.

      Clean coal
          It's as dirty as ever, but we pretend to sweep the dirt under the rug.—The coal industry

      Busting the Dog Whistle code.

      by Mokurai on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 10:15:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Easy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        beach babe in fl, Egalitare

        Sequestered carbon is best stored inside trees

        Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

        by EthrDemon on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:42:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  we absolutely can bury it (0+ / 0-)

        and its just fear-driven hype that says we can't.  Coal mines, empty oil wells, empty natural gas fields.  One of the reasons why current technologies to do such things could cause the tremors you mentioned is because it has to be liquified or otherwise injected under high pressure.  If the CO2 is trapped inside of a solid molecule you can just dump it in w/o pressure, and thus avoid the earthquakes.  
        Sure, metal prices would go higher, but that is not sufficient reason to abandon a developing technology.  There is no way that organic costs would go up, everything organic is by definition made of C, which is what we are trying to remove and is (ever more) plentifully abundant in the air.  The only cost for the organic molecule is the production of it, which is automatically going to be higher than plain C, since it requires production.  Once the production grows, our understanding of economics says that the price will come down due to the economies of scale.
        Finally, i'm not sure why you say we'd need gigatons of the metal molecule (although we very well may), it is possible that each metallic lattice will bind multiple CO2 molecules.  The article never gives a specific on that, so it's all conjecture at this point.

  •  So the question is (0+ / 0-)

    How will (expected) price increases due to the imposition of these import tariffs affect the rate of domestic installation?

    Given the fact the increase in Chinese production is partly responsible for the steep decline in PV prices (the other being a concurrent decline in world demand due to the economic crisis and expiration/cancellation of some EU solar stimulus measures), if domestic manufacturers exploit the 35% duties by raising their prices to just below post-tariff import pricing, then it's likely this may put a damper on adoption rates.

    Which many installers predict.

    Some question the wisdom and basis of these rather steep tariffs and they are likely to be successfully challenged in the WTO, but regardless, price increases are quite likely.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:57:08 AM PDT

    •  the long term trend over the past several decades (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, ozsea1, brasilaaron, koNko

      is a steady decline in solar PV, and it started long before china got in on the game. it is true that tariffs will probably bump the price up in the short term, but anything that increases american domestic production capacity (and thus net global production capacity) is a good thing. using the funds from those tariffs as subsidies to reduce the price advantage would be the most reasonable thing to do, although i don't expect the US government to do anything that rational.

      •  It might make "sense" (0+ / 0-)

        But, in effect, it would be taxing Chinese producers to subsidize American producers and then where does that lead?

        I'm reasonably confident if China really challenges this in the WTO the US will lose and that is not a Chinese opinion but an industry opinion, and if you read through the legal briefs and court opinion, you might begin to understand why. For example, how they calculated "fair" labor cost for pv industry workers (including engineers) is to use Thailand as the base (a country with no pv industry). OK, got it.

        Some Europeans are really shaking their heads at the short-sightedness of this; the US is digging a hole they will fall in if they ever manage to pass legislation to actually promote green industry and also setting itself up for retaliatory measures in other sectors of the the industry where the US is a net exporter (including to China). US materials and equipment supplier are now waiting for the blowback and their stocks took a hit on this ruling.

        But on the other hand, considering the US Congress is unlikely to support renewables any day soon, Obama might as well tax Chinese producers as a poison pill (or source of tax revenue if they buckle).

        But frankly, 35% subsidies really surprised a lot of people in the industry, it is nearly a record.

        Ironic, isn't it, the the lead plaintiff in the WTC case was the US subsidy of a Germany pv company that owes it's very existence the the very generous subsidies the German government handed out for R+D, loan guarantees, investment credits and feed-in tariffs. Not that such policies are bad - clearly Germany leads in installed solar exactly because of this, but Solar World was a major beneficiary and the rather boastful and gloating comments of their CEO sounded a bit hypocritical to my ears.

        Anyway, Chinese companies will either work around it (Trina has a plant opening in Canada soon and Suntech could expand their AZ plant to include a fab) or find other markets.

        But I'm definitely interested to see how much this affects pricing over the next year and manufacturers click-up the prices quarter to quarter to cash in.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 11:18:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Found this article a while back. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, JeffW, ferg, ozsea1, Calamity Jean

    It states:

    The U.S. is about to go through an incredible metamorphosis when it comes to energy generation. When you step back from all the individual items of news about large-scale renewable projects and total them up, you see that we have never been through anything like this before. We are about to see a profound change in how we power our homes and businesses with power from utilities, as well as many small distributed solar sources.
    This was an incredibly optomistic article.  Hope its predictions are true!

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we need to really think about shit!

    by John Crapper on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:13:47 AM PDT

  •  Best news I've heard all year on the energy front (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freshwater dan, JeffW, ozsea1, brasilaaron

    Seriously, 2012 has been such a dismal year for the festering development of climate change, I welcome this news. On the one hand, I've been expecting the momentum to continue as it has been for a few years, but I can't take it for granted, since we have such deep challenges. So I'm glad that solar production is still accelerating.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

    by rovertheoctopus on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:20:05 AM PDT

  •  It would be good to know how much was due to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, ozsea1


    Part of the first-quarter's growth was likely to due to solar developers finishing projects that qualified under a U.S. grant program, which expired at the end of 2011. Those projects could help keep installations strong through the middle of the year.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:47:38 AM PDT

  •  I put a 13.3 kW system up last summer. :) (7+ / 0-)

    "The political system, including elections, is carefully managed to prevent the threat of democracy."  ~Noam Chomsky

    -7.38, -6.97

    by cotasm on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:51:32 AM PDT

  •  Great news, ties in with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    wrapping up my reading of Amory Lovins' new book, Reinventing Fire:  bold business solutions for the new energy era.  Renewables, including solar, play a primary role in the energy future Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute colleagues envision.

    Here's his lecture at Berkeley Lab last year on the topic.

    "You're only allowed a certain number of flips before people begin to doubt your character." - Mitt Romney

    by rsmpdx on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 10:50:26 AM PDT

  •  Great news capital is starting to recognize (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beach babe in fl

    the lower price points of renewables like solar and wind. I think we'll more and more size in renewable projects in the near future...

    Like the Atlantic WInd Connection, 350 mile long HVDC project to support 1750  4Mw offshore turbines from NJ to Virginia

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:51:35 PM PDT

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