From the Bureau of Labor Statistics (hat tip to Builder magazine):
The numbers show Percent Change in the Construction Sector from 2/13 to 2/14
It’s the rooftop solar PV industry versus the utilities in these “wars” — as described on SolarToday.org:
While Vermont last month greatly expanded its net metering provisions, the battle continues in other states.
In California, where state law requires a replacement for the existing net metering system by the end of 2015, the Public Utilities Commission voted at the end of March to let existing solar owners keep their existing net metering contracts for 20 years from the time of installation.
Here in Colorado, the public utilities commission separated the issue of net-metering rates from the Xcel Energy rate-setting process . . .
Xcel’s home state of Minnesota has already begun that process to determine the value of solar (VOS). The result may turn out to be a rise in rates paid to solar homeowners.
In Austin, Texas, where the municipal power company pioneered the VOS concept, the VOS tariff paid to solar homeowners dropped from 12.8 cents/kWh to 10.7 c/kWh in January, due mainly to the reduced cost of generating electricity with natural gas.
Louisiana’s Public Service Commission last month decided to hire a consultant to figure out VOS issues, and after a false start in the bidding process now hopes to name that consultant within a month.
Last year also marked a significant transition in the history of clean energy: for the first time since Clean Edge began tracking global markets in 2000, the world installed more new solar PV generating capacity, 36.5 gigawatts, than wind power (35.5 GW).
Record levels of new solar deployment in China, Japan, and the U.S. combined with a down year in the wind industry to create this unprecedented crossover.
The global solar market’s continued double-digit growth of 15 percent, plus a modest uptick in biofuels’ market size, was not enough to overcome the wind industry’s lackluster performance.
As a result, combined global revenue for solar PV, wind power, and biofuels held nearly steady at $247.6 billion, down just slightly from $248.7 billion in 2012.
Note that the graphic above dates back to 2003. You’ll have to put a magnifying glass to the thing to see the Q4/13 decline from NEMA’s Motors Shipments Index decreased by 1.7 percent on a quarter to quarter basis during 2013Q4. Year-over-year performance showed a similar trend, decreasing by 1.6 percent. Inflation adjusted shipments of fractional horsepower motors declined by 6.5 percent, while integral HP motors registered a gain of 1.4 percent compared to the same period last year. On an annual basis, calendar year 2013 showed a decline of 0.6 percent compared to 2012.
Complaints from pilots flying near the concentrating solar power (CSP) plant state that on numerous occasions, the intense reflective glare coming from the plant’s heliostat mirrors has caused pilots to become momentarily blinded. Ivanpah is located roughly 40 miles from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, and approximately 25 miles from the Jean Sport Aviation Center in Jean, Nevada.
And — from the old rule that says, “don’t tell me about a problem without suggesting a solution” –
One possible solution, as suggested by Ho, is to reposition heliostats that are in standby mode so that they stand vertically — thus reflecting the glare toward the ground instead of upward. Regardless of whether that’s done, Ho believes it is imperative that pilots are briefed on the location of the plant so that they will be aware of potential glare issues.
Wind power in the U.S. is on a respirator.
The $14 billion industry, the world’s second-largest buyer of wind turbines, is reeling from a double blow — cheap natural gas unleashed by the hydraulic fracturing revolution and the death last year of federal subsidies that made wind the most competitive of all renewable energy sources in the U.S.
Without restoration of subsidies, worth $23 per megawatt hour to turbine owners, the industry may not recover, and the U.S. may lose ground in its race to reduce dependence on the fossil fuels driving global warming, say wind-power advocates.