ClearWorld May 2018 - Page 4

Greenhouse gas emissions have increased, from year to year, emissions can rise and fall due to changes in the economy, the price of fuel, and other factors. In 2014, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased compared to 2013 levels. This increase was due to a number of factors, including: cold winter conditions resulting in an increase in fuel demand, especially in residential and commercial sectors; an increase in transportation emissions resulting from an increase in vehicle miles traveled; and an increase in industrial production across multiple sectors that also resulted in increases in industrial sector emissions.

The primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are:

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Several positive trends halted last year, but new sources of strength are appearing.

If the right factors come together, solar power could provide 15 percent of the global electricity mix by the 2030s, rather than the business-as-usual rate of 5 percent, said MJ Shiao, Wood Mackenzie's global lead for renewables and emerging technologies, at GTM’s Solar Summit in San Diego Tuesday.

Achieving that level would make crucial strides for global climate change mitigation but requires overcoming notable obstacles. In recent months, module prices have actually risen, growth in the U.S. has slowed and policy fluctuation has introduced uncertainty.

Over the long term, the growth of solar creates problems for itself by reshaping grid dynamics, tanking prices in the sunny hours and ramping them up for the morning and evening peaks.

“We’re on the cusp of a broad transformation, but we haven’t gotten there yet,” Shiao said.

Strange days

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Last year bucked a long-running trend in U.S. solar deployments: they finally went down compared to the year before.

The downturn came from a slowdown in distributed solar combined with a decline in the contracted utility-scale pipeline. It didn’t help that the original federal investment tax credit expiration pulled ample capacity into 2016 deployment, leaving pipelines depleted for 2017.

Adding to the weirdness, module prices moved in a new direction.

“They did fall in many markets, but we saw the first global average uptick in years,” Shiao said.

That movement resulted from supply constraints from China’s deployment ramp-up and hoarding in advance of the U.S. solar tariff decision, among other things.

What to Anticipate from Solar in 2018?