By Roy L Hales
Though more than 50% of the new electrical installations during the first quarter of 2014 were solar, it is nothing to brag about. The numbers are down across the Board. Even the number of solar projects is down, compared to last year.
Fossil fuels were especially hard hit. No no new coal or gas projects have started up. The number of natural gas units coming online shrank from 11, producing 359 MW during the first quarter of 2013, to a mere 2 facilities producing a mere 90 MW.
The number of Hydro-projects coming online has dropped from 7, last year, to 2 in 2014.
There are more new wind projects, but they are smaller their installed capacity is less than half of what came online last year. Three were mentioned in the Energy Generation Highlights during February and there also entries for January and March
The only bright spot on this graph is Geothermal steam, which has come onto the chart in January with Patua Hot Springs Geothermal project in Lyon County, Nevada. The 30 MW of power it produces will be sold to Sacramento Municipal Utility District under long-term contract.
The solar industry’s share of the market has increased, though the number of new installations has dropped from 66, in the first quarter of 2013, to 47 this year. The new installed capacity going from 877 MW to 584. A third of these projects were in California, another third in North Carolina and the rest were scattered around the rest of the country.
Eight projects went online in California :
- (130 MW ) Antelope Valley Solar Phase II expansion project in Los Angeles County;
- (61 MW) Topaz Solar Farm Phase III expansion project in San Luis Obispo County,
- (40 MW) Recurrent Rosamond Solar, in Kern co.
- (5 MW) Recurrent Rio Grande, Kern Co.
- (10 MW) Recurrent Columbia 3 in Kern County;
- (18 MW )Recurrent Victor Phelan Solar One in San Bernardino County.
- ( 6 MW ) Shasta Solar Farm project in Shasta County,
- (125 MW) Genesis Solar Energy Project Phase 2 in Riverside County
There were 9 listed in North Carolina:
- (20 MW) Dogwood Solar Power project in Halifax County,
- ( 6 MW) Marshville Farm Solar project in Union County,
- (6.4 MW) Waco Farm Solar project in Cleveland County
- (6.4 MW) Nash 58 Farm in Nash County
- (5 MW) Wagstaff Farm I Solar project in Person County
- (5 MW) Garrell Solar Farm project in Columbus County
- (5 MW) Moore Solar Farm project in Rockingham County
- (5 MW) Daniel Farm Solar project in Davie County
- (5 MW) Roxboro Solar project in Person County, NC is online. The power generated is sold to Progress Energy Carolinas under long-term contract.
As regards the rest of the US:
- ( 20 MW) Mountain View Solar project in Clark County, NV
- (20 MW) Recurrent Gillespie 1 Solar project in Maricopa County, AZ
- (45 MW) Pioneer Generating Station Unit 2 project in Williams County, ND
- (75 MW) Pheasant Run Wind project in Huron County, Wisconsin
- (20 MW) Brahms Wind project in Curry County, NM
- ( 4 MW) Fort Hays State University Wind Farm project in Ellis County, KS
- ( 6 MW) Davis Monthan AFB Solar expansion project in Pima County, AZ
- (4 MW) Alamo II Solar project in Bexar County, TX
- (2 MW) Winchendon Solar project in Worcester County, MA
Businesses through-out the US experienced a slow first quarter. In many cases, the problem was weather.
“Freezing temperatures and mountains of snow in the first three months of 2014 kept shoppers indoors, grounded flights and made it harder for shippers to fill product orders,” One of Bloomberg‘s columnists writes. “As a result, Macy’s Inc. shut 244 stores for at least part of January, Union Pacific Corp.’s trains ran 9 percent slower and Delta Air Lines Inc. canceled 8,000 flights in January and February.”