Infograph: Union of Concerned Scientists: US Solar Growth

Ok, I figure I would share this info graph with everyone from US-based Union of Concerned Scientists regarding the jaw-dropping growth of US rooftop solar energy since the start of 21st Century.

Consider this:

In 2005, the average rooftop solar system cost $40,000. However by 2013, a roof based solar power plant would cost $20,000. If customers decide to lease a solar system, installations costs are $0.00. Examples of companies providing leasing options for those wanting to go solar include SolarCity and Vivant Solar.

Add by 2017, more than 50% of US states will have solar electricity prices cheaper than local utilities. Currently, many states, including California, Texas, Arizona have prices as affordable as the grid.

What’s more impressive is how many households have gone solar. In 2006, 30,000 households had added a solar system to their home. By 2013, those numbers reached 400,000. By 2020, depending estimates, range from 900,000 to 3.8 million homes going solar.

So what has drove solar’s ascension? Here are three critical reasons.

1. Climate change concerns and mitigating risk.

2. Declining solar costs (and even more proof here).

3. US Government tax credit policy.

Without all three, I don’t think you would see the disruption you are seeing in the US utility sector.

So what does Canada have to do to duplicate the United States growth?

Feel free to email me at your thoughts. You may also contact me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Three Things Environmentalists Should Jump For Joy On Earth Day


Tomorrow is Earth Day. We will gather to celebrate the Mother Earth in all her glory.

We will also hear a lot of doom and gloom about the planet we live on. Sure, there is a lot of gloomy stories to worry about. Carbon emissions last year went above 400 parts per million (ppm) and went to 402 ppm recently. We have seen record storms and droughts in recent times that should raise concern among climate policy makers.

Despite some of the end of the world mentality by many environmentalists, here are three things to get really excited about as you celebrate Earth Day:

1. Cost of Solar Falls Like A Ton of Bricks:


Image Credit: China Solar Panels via WikiCommons

It was not long ago, the cost of solar power was really expensive. Solar costs in 1950 were $300 per watt and $27.00/watt in 1980. In 2013, solar plummeted to $0.74/watt. That is an astonishing figure. Solar is price competitive to coal in some places. What is occurring with solar energy, and other renewables occurred with the late 1990’s information technology boom, which created the framework for Web. 2.0. Governments, and utilities will have to kick out their old 20th century style energy policies out the door, thanks to the open sourced energy model solar offers.

2. SolarCity and Tesla Motors Are Rolling:


Image Credit: Tesla Motors Model S via WikiCommons

Tesla Motors and SolarCity in the past few years have really taken off in the Nasdaq stock exchange and are hot talking points.

At the end of Monday, Tesla Motors stock was worth $204.38 USD a share, an increase of more than $100.00 a year ago. Meanwhile, SolarCity’s share price hit $57.13. While not as high as earlier this year, it’s almost five times more than the initial IPO offering of $11.79/share on its first day of trading in December, 2012.

In March, the Globe & Mail put SolarCity’s bright future into context:

To put this in perspective, two-thirds of all solar energy systems in the U.S. were installed in the last two-and-a-half years. I don’t think it’s just tree huggers who are installing these systems, either. These are financial decisions. And for people who don’t have $20,000 or more to invest up front in a solar energy system on their roof, solar leasing is a popular solution.

Within the sector, Solar City is a clear leader by market share in the U.S. It specializes in putting solar energy systems on homeowners’ roofs. Solar City, and other companies like them, pay for the entire installation and recoup their money by signing the customer to a long-term energy-purchase agreement. Everybody wins because Solar City generates a healthy profit over the life of the solar-power system, while the customer pays less for power compared to their feed from the traditional grid. Customers can still use grid power, but most of their electricity comes from their roof, and if the grid goes down, they are still generating their own power.

Take SolarCity’s monster share of the US solar market, along with Tesla’s ambitious plan on building a “gigafactory” for its electric cars, and you see how the long-term motor vehicle and energy market trends may shape out this century.

3. Spectator Sports Are Becoming More Sustainable:


Image Credit: Spark Renault Formula E Car via WikiCommons

One of the biggest complaints about spectator sports (Auto Racing, NFL) is the big footprint it leaves. Major sports leagues are now taking up the sustainability charge.

Averaging about a 4 million carbon footprint annually, NASCAR is often on the “Hit List” of many environmentalists. Ironically, they have also brought in some green changes, including an E15 ethanol blend, and working with ACORE on energy efficiency initiatives.

Meanwhile, Formula E, the first ever electric vehicle racing circuit will kick off this September. Announced in 2012, its hoped the new racing venture will reduce carbon emissions, create jobs and advance the electric vehicle industry.

In the NFL, many teams have embraced renewable energy strategies to save costs and the environment. These include the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Redskins.

Society Better Equipped to Fight Climate Change Now

As you sit back on Earth Day, sure be mad about a lot of things. But at the same time lets start being more positive on the changes that are taking place. Ask someone thirty to forty years ago, if wind, solar energy, or electric vehicles would become apart of mainstream society? You would be laughed right out of the building.

Sure nothing is perfect. However, but as you are seeing now with declining solar costs, cleantech stocks becoming hot talking points on Wall Street, and less carbon footprint from spectator sports show society is moving in the right direction. If you ask me, We are more equipped now to take on climate change, then we were even twenty five years ago. That my friends is progress.

Happy Earth Day.





From Cleantechnica: Ube Launches Crowdfunding Campaign To Support Smart Dimmer

This is really neat. Please note, that Ube had just switched their crowdfunding campaign to Kickstarter.

Ube Launches Crowdfunding Campaign To Support Smart Dimmer (via Clean Technica)

Disruptive technologies and the emerging crowdfunding platform are becoming more commonplace as not only a marketing and finance tool, but also changing the dynamics of how energy is distributed. Enter Austin, Texas-based company Ube, who launched their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for their award…

From CleanTechnica: China Reaches 50 GW Of Connected Grid Wind Capacity; Expected To Top 140 GW By 2015

China is serious about cleaning up their air and rapidly moving towards a sustainable economy. This is what the power of globalization looks like.

China Reaches 50GW Of Connected Grid Wind Capacity; Expected To Top 140GW 2015 (via Clean Technica)

China advanced past 50 gigawatts (GW) of on-grid connected wind capacity in 2012, and is expected to grow a further 40% by the end of 2013. GTM Media Research and Azure International in their China Wind Market Quarterly for the fourth quarter of 2012 said the emerging market country is on target this…

From CleanTechnica: Tesla Motors Expects Small Profit In Q1 Of 2013; Reports $306 Million Revenue In Q4 Of 2012

Is Tesla starting to to hit the road in profitability?

Tesla Motors Expects Small Profit In Q1 Of 2013; Reports $306 Million Revenue In Q4 Of 2012 (via Clean Technica)

Tesla Motors expects to make a small profit in the first quarter of 2013, with the critically acclaimed Model S especially helping to move EV company slowly into profitable territory. Green Car Congress notes that Tesla’s 2012 fourth quarter revenues were $306 million, a whopping 500% increase from…

From Cleantechnica: US Solar Residential Financing Expected To Top $5.7 Billion By 2016

Here is an interesting story for all of those interested in finance and renewable energy that I just wrote today for Cleantechnica. The question is why is Canada’s residential solar financing so pathetic compared to the US? Better programs are needed, especially here in Manitoba.

US Solar Residential Financing Expected To Top $5.7 Billion By 2016 (via Clean Technica)

US solar residential financing is expected to reach $5.7 billion according to GreenTech Media Research. The new report suggests solar financing for residential homes will grow from $1.3 billion in 2012, to $5.7 billion in 2016, more than four times the current rate. Much of the strength anticipated…

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Time To Go Big Or Go Home on Renewable Energy (Infographic)

Often, I go through my Twitter feed trying to find good information relating to what is impacting the 21st century. This time, I found an infograph (see below) that the Pew Charitable Trusts released today relating to United States clean energy policy. Here is some interesting numbers:

– Between 2012-2018 could see global revenue for clean energy reach U.S.$1.9 Trillion, which is quite an astonishing number given the rapid rise globally of renewable energy within recent years.

– 118 nations (sorry, Canada and U.S.) have some sort of national renewable energy goals. Heck, even China, and India, two of the world’s top emerging markets have some sort of national targets.

– What is even more interesting is China currently has 30.1% of the global solar photovoltaic manufacturers in their own country, and 26.7% of companies producing wind turbines. Just showing how emerging markets are embracing clean energy.

So, isn’t it time for countries like Canada and the U.S. to go big or go home? We know likely Barack Obama mentioned in his inauguration address in January his commitment to battling climate change and boosting renewable energy targets. I wonder if Stephen Harper will too face up to that challenge. In Manitoba, will the spirit of entrepreneurism and activism finally rise up to create new and exciting businesses? Or will the lack of entrepreneurial spirit seal this provinces fate as a renewable energy leader.

So what do you think? Do you think that It’s time to go big or go home with clean technology?  Email me at, or contact me on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or Google+.

Image Credit: The Future of U.S. Clean Energy via Pew Environment

Image Credit: The Future of U.S. Clean Energy via Pew Environment