A single Verizon business site saved more than $8,000 in one year by increasing its use of renewable energy. The number of remote stations going “off the grid” is predicted to rise from 13,000 in 2012 to 84,000 in 2020, as hybrid power usage equates to smart budgeting as well as environmental conservation.
The flexibility provided by hybrid energy sources is a major plus, especially in remote regions. In addition, renewable energy is a tremendous advantage in the event of a traditional power outage.
- Flexibility makes sense. Using only one energy source may not provide enough power when compared with more flexible hybrid options. This is especially true during winter months or cloudy weather.
- If enough power is not available, batteries or diesel gasoline can make up the difference. Using a hybrid system mitigates the need for additional carbon-based sources. It also simplifies the logistics around providing diesel fuel and is ultimately more “green.”
- If battery backup versus fuel is used, a hybrid system works for keeping batteries charged. Providing both solar and wind energy offers a better opportunity to maintain full charge during calm, cloudy periods.
The Global Picture
The share of total global electricity production generated by renewable energy is steadily increasing as photovoltaic systems are becoming less expensive.
- The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014 report noted that renewables – other than hydropower – accounted for 43.6 percent of total new electric generating capability last year. This prevented an estimated 1.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
- Wind, solar and other renewables made up 8.5 percent of total global electric power generation in 2013, up from 7.8 percent in 2012.
- Solar-power generating capacity worldwide grew by 26 percent in 2013, from 31 gigawatts to39 gigawatts. This happened despite a 23 percent decline in global investment in solar energy, from $135.6 billion to approximately $104 billion.
- Worldwide, the wind market will grow at an annual capacity rate of more than 10 percent over the next five years, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. The installed capacity for wind power rose by 12.5 percent last year. Today, the global installed capacity is about 388 gigawatts, a number that is predicted to nearly double by the end of 2018.
Solar Jobs on the Rise
In the U.S., solar worker jobs grew 10 times faster than the national average employment rate from 2012 to 2013.
- The largest number of jobs added have been solar project developers, as related costs have fallen dramatically. Just under 70,000 people are currently employed in the solar installation business, up 21 percent from 2012. In 2014, it is estimated that 21 percent more jobs will be added, according to The Solar Foundation.
- Solar manufacturing jobs also have made a comeback, now employing about 30,000 Americans. This followed a drop in these jobs from 2011 to 2012. As noted by SolarCity CEO Lyndon, Rive, “growth for the next 10 years in solar is going to be very, very exciting. You can’t outsource these jobs.”
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