Former CEO of the Carbon War Room, Jigar Shah, and Eric Graber-Lopez of BlueWave Capital will both be speaking at the May 11-12 Solar Future Eastern USA 2012 conference and both agree that within the next five years solar energy in a large part of the US will be cheaper than power from the grid. They cite the continued drop of solar panel costs, combined with transportation costs of electricity increasing as the factors leading to such an expanded solar market.
"The awakening of the US solar market will be driven by grid parity within each region. Federal incentives provide a good foundation for the expansion of the solar industry but state-level incentives are still needed to truly make solar energy competitive in each regional market. Over the next five years we believe that solar power will reach grid parity in a large portion of the US market, thus opening up the opportunity for significant expansion of the industry in the years to come," says renewable energy advisor Graber-Lopez.
Solar Future notes that, currently, the US is the 4th solar market in the world and, expecting to follow China’s lead, a country that went from 7th place to 3rd, growing from nearly 500MW to 2.5GW, notes that the US has shown signs of improvement, increasing its solar market from 900MW to 2GW last year.
Jigar Shah called the US market "a slow and steady market because it insists on providing only reasonable market based incentives for solar. This approach has resulted in a stable market with sustainable growth that should lead to a market of over 10GW annually from 2016 and 25GW from 2020.
Shah expects that 2012 will bring increase solar in states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, New York and DC. Additionally, he expects new states to join the solar world including New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine.
Graber-Lopez also sees opportunities in the Eastern US, stating, "They are and will continue to be driven by performance based incentives such as Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). The primary markets for solar in the Eastern US are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Ohio. In addition, we expect New York to play a larger role in the industry over the next few years.”