Friday, September 11, 2009

Distributed Solar Power Market to Exceed $55 Billion by 2012, says Pike Research

You can make electricity in massive, utility-scale generators and push it hundreds of miles over high-tension wires. Or you can make it close to where you use it, and skip the high-tension wires, the towers, the whole bit.

Distributed energy generation, as the latter method is called, is one of the most important tools for meeting the world's energy needs, says Pike Research, a cleantech research and consulting firm.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems make up the biggest component of the distributed energy generation market, according to the firm.

In a study of the PV market, it forecasts that "global installed capacity will approach 2.5 gigawatts by 2012, with annual system revenues surpassing $55 billion." The U.S. will become the largest market for small PV systems by 2011, Pike says.

If you'd like to read an executive summary of the report, click here.

Distributed renewable energy has lots of appeal. Making your own electricity is the kind of thing that swells the heart of the archetypal rugged American individualist. I've written about my view that the future of solar power lies with distributed energy.

But distributed energy has problems. It's not continuous, power quality varies and you can't easily adjust supply to match demand.

Technological solutions to these problems are afoot and the world remains undaunted. Use of distributed energy will keep growing and might even eclipse Pike's projections.

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