Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Booming Mice and Enlarging Elephants

The Tale of the Booming Mouse and Enlarging Elephant:
A Look At New Power Production For PV Solar and Wind Power in 2006:

There is a very widespread notion, especially in Silicon Valley, that solar energy is the "fastest" growing clean energy source. And various growth statistics speak to 20-40% growth in yearly and decade scale views of both the PV production and installed capacity measures of power.

Of course, there is no doubt that solar deployments, production facilities, and worldwide demand is growing, but some readers may find surprising is the relative growth of various clean tech sources.

According to a newly released report on PV production for 2006 from Solar Buzz,

Global solar added 1,744 MW (nameplate) new installations in 2006, reflecting a 19% growth over 2005 (1,465 MW added in 2005).

Now let's put some things in perspective.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind capacity worldwide grew at 32%. But much more importantly, inside the numbers you see a veritable 10x in scale between solar and wind:

Global wind added 15,197 MW (nameplate) new installations in 2006, reflecting 32% growth over 2005 (24227 MW added in 2005).

New Wind Power: 15197 MW
New Solar Power: 1744 MW

Sour grapes from a wind guy? Maybe a little, but I am also amazed at the power of marketing... say something enough and people really start to believe you. The solar contingent has been so consistent in the "fastest growth" aspect of their marketing that even I had to do a double-take on these numbers. My guess is that 9 out of 10 people where I'd live would think solar is adding 10x the new capacity of wind power...