Investment Ideas / Solar energy stats and trends

Solar energy is part of the lager green alternative and renewable energies and currently fast trending in the industrial world among other sectors due to challenges arising from pollution and global warming causing variation in climatic change. Solar energy has proved to be much cheaper and more effective. In June this year several organizations and companies have published reports detailing the many aspects of global energy. This article tries to highlight the most crucial points to offer a snapshot-style look at global renewable energy as seen from different sources.

General Trends and Perspectives

In 2013 global solar energy consumption and other primary energy sources increased by 2.3% faster than 2012.

Solar energy is expected to grow by about 1.3% on average, mirroring an expected and ongoing improvement in the energy efficiencies.

The global renewable solar energy share is expected to reach 30% and exceed by 2030. Doubling the renewable energy to about 36% of global consumption reducing global demand of gas and oil.

Meeting the global growing demand of energy will need more around $48 trillion in investment by 2035.

Renewable Energy Trends

According to Bloomberg report renewable power generation such as solar energy shoot up by 13.7 % up from 12.6% in the year 2012.

Renewable energy sources such as solar energy increased in 2013 reaching a record of 2.7% of world’s energy consumption, going up by 1.9 % from a decade ago.

In 2013 around 6.5 million individuals were employed in renewable energy sector such as solar energy worldwide, solar photovoltaic sector had 2.3 job placements biogas, liquid biofuel and modern biomass (0.3 million, 0.8 million and 1.4 respectively. Wind employment remained somewhat stable at 0.8 million.

In 2013, China remained the largest employer in the renewable energy sector.

Solar energy global trends show the solar thermal power industry is fast growing, but few countries produce the largest amounts of solar energy. Spain produces 582 megawatts ranking the second highest globally, the United States is leading producer (currently with 507 MW of solar energy), and China ranks third. However, the list changes when it comes to solar stations under construction and existing ones. It is estimated that around 17 GW of solar-power projects are currently in construction globally. United States has 8 GW under development and more is still in the planning phase. Spain has about 4.46 GW in development phase and China comes in third with solar stations expected to produce 2.5 GW out of sunlight in the near future.

The 4 largest solar stations include: 392 MW Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, located in California, 354 megawatt (MW) Solar Energy Generating Systems power installation in the USA, Solana Generating Station (USA, 280 MW) and Solaben Solar Power Station (Spain, 200 MW).

The most recent solar station is the Welspun solar MP project opened in February 2014 in India. The station is a parabolic trough with an output of 130 MW. At the moment there are many solar stations under construction worldwide. The major stations in development phase include: 280 MW Mojave Solar Project in the USA, 160MW Ouarzazate solar power station in Morocco, 121MW Ashalim power station 1 in the Negev desert of Israel just to list a few. Spain has the most solar stations under construction.

Solar energy is harnessed via several methods. For example, the concentrated solar power systems direct a large area of sunshine using lenses into a smaller beam. Photovoltaic then convert the light into electricity. Solar concentrators vary in design and are also mounted differently. Thermoelectric devices on the other hand, convert a temperature difference between dissimilar materials into an electric current (Wikipedia). Another technology for solar-power production is the Space-based solar power (SBSP). SBSP is simply the process of collecting solar power available in space.

Related equities

Country Company Ticker
China Daqo New Energy Corp. DQ
China JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. JASO
China Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. YGE
USA Applied Materials Inc. AMAT
USA First Solar Inc. FSLR
USA SolarCity Corporation SCTY
USA Enphase Energy Inc. ENPH
Canada Canadian Solar Inc. CSIQ
Australia CBD Energy Limited CBDE
Guggenheim Solar ETF TAN
Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF KWT


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