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US wind power to overtake solar in 2013

Reduced costs and increased demand will cause solar power to eclipse wind power in the US in 2013

The US could install 3-4 gigawatts of wind turbines this year, and solar projects will probably exceed that in 2013

A decrease in US wind power projects coupled with a demand for photovoltaic systems will see the US add more solar power in 2013 than wind energy for the first time.

The US could install 3-4 gigawatts of wind turbines this year, and solar projects will probably exceed that, Gregory Wolf, president of Duke Energy Renewables announced this week.

The US added 13.1 GW of wind power last year, beating natural gas for the first time.

US wind projects have come to a near-standstill this year on uncertainty over the fate of a federal tax credit that was set to expire 31 Decemebr. Wolf anticipates more solar projects going into operation in 2013 than wind farms after panel prices fell more than 60 per cent in the last two years.

“I would expect a lot of momentum still on solar,” Mr Wolf said in an interview yesterday.

“We really ramped up our solar in 2010,” said Wolf. “Today most of the projects are half or less of the cost now than then.” Duke Renewables’ portfolio of renewable-energy projects exceeds 1.7 GW.

The production tax credit, which provides 2.2 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity from wind farms, was extended for a year on 1 January. With little information about whether it would be renewed, developers raced to complete wind farms by the end of last year and didn’t plan new ones.

The US installed about 3.2 GW of solar power last year and may reach 3.9 GW this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Cheap panels and lower construction costs have been aided by policy support that “has been a little more consistent and long-term,” Wolf said.