Renewables

wind turbines

Commercial, industrial and utility sectors throughout the U.S. are installing photovoltaic panels and building high-megawatt wind farms to generate clean, efficient power to meet our rising energy demands. These alternative energy sources (sun and wind) are free and plentiful, and the energy plants required to harvest and deliver this energy do not continuously generate carbon or other emissions. Such alternative energy plants are clean and reliable.

Videos

  • Video Icon Oak Creek Wind Energy
    Oak Creek Energy Systems Inc. is a pioneer in gigawatt-scale wind energy with its long-term expansion of wind power capacity in the Tehachapi-Mojave area of California. This video describes a somewhat unique case where one wind farm was constructed to serve one major customer, and explores the infrastructure necessary to keep the turbines up and running.

Education

  • WIND: North American Wind Energy Copper Content Analysis [PDF]
    This report analyzes copper’s growing use for renewable wind energy through 2027. Between 2018 and 2027, it’s estimated 48,721 MW worth of wind energy installations will be constructed with an estimated demand of 4.76 tons of copper per MW. 
  • SOLAR: North American Solar PV Copper Content Analysis [PDF]
    This report presents a forecast for the North American solar PV market through 2027. Between 2018 and 2027, North America is expected to install 137 GW of residential and commercial & industrial solar capacity as well as 125 GW of utility-scale solar. This forecast also estimates during the same timeframe nearly one million tons of copper will be needed for this growing technology.
  • Current and Projected Wind and Solar Renewable Electric Generating Capacity in the Domestic Market 
    The Copper Development Association conducted a study and examined renewable energy (RE) production, including land-based and offshore wind; residential, commercial and utility-scale photovoltaic installations; concentrating thermal-solar electric plants; and geothermal plants.
  • Thermal Modeling of Electrical Conductors with Emphasis on Solar Heating [PDF - 205Kb]
    This short white paper by John Paschal, Jr., P.E. of Paschal Engineering, explains the basic principles of conductor temperature in sunlight and emphasizes the importance of Table 310.15(B)(2)(c) in the NEC.

Case Studies

Solar

Copper's electrical and thermal conductivity and high resistance to both atmospheric and aqueous corrosion makes it so valuable in solar energy systems.

Solar PV by the Numbers

60-70%: compounded annual growth rate of residential and commercial sectors. Utility scale PV installations have quadrupled since 2008.

5: top states using PV are California, New Jersey, Florida, Arizona and New York [Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration]

601,133: number of U.S. Shipments of Photovoltaic Cells and Modules in 2009

INFOGRAPHIC: Copper: Essential in PV Solar Power Growth [PDF - 1Mb]: This infographic illustrates the growth of solar PV in the U.S. and how and where copper is used in solar energy generation.

Wind

Copper is vital in wind energy technologies including in the electrical grounding system for wind turbine farms.

Wind Power by the Numbers

20%: U.S. Energy Department's goal for Renewable Energy growth of "20 percent by 2030," which offers opportunities for onshore wind energy but more particularly for offshore wind energy.

25%: compounded annual growth rate of the onshore wind energy program in the U.S. It has surpassed $60 billion in size.

20%: the U.S. wind power capacity ratio compared to the world's total installed wind power, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

INFOGRAPHIC: Copper's Role in Wind Energy [PDF - 372Kb]: This infographic illustrates how and where copper is used in wind-energy production.