If patriotism begins with the love and protection of the land that we live on, the water we drink and the air we breath, there is no better example of this than California. Despite economic hardships, California solar installers has once again lead the nation in pv installations. State rebates helped stoke consumer demand for solar panels, and a state law will soon force California’s large utility companies to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources.
Ambitious energy policies should continue to move forward because they are an essential element in the strategy to recover from the economic crisis. Solar installation, residential and commercial, continues to fuel small business bringing regional jobs and putting money into the local economies. Read more –
This year’s stagnant economy hasn’t stopped the spread of solar power David Baker of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The United States installed enough solar panels during the first six months of 2010 to generate up to 339 megawatts of electricity and will soon surpass last year’s record of 435 megawatts, according to a study released Tuesday by a solar industry trade group.
As usual, more solar panels have been installed this year in California enough to generate 120 megawatts than in any other state. By the standards of the electricity industry, the power furnished by all those installed solar panels isn’t much. A single mid-size power plant burning fossil fuels, for comparison, generates around 500 megawatts, enough electricity to supply roughly 375,000 typical homes.
But the study by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research shows the United States solar market growing at a brisk pace despite the country’s economic slump. The amount of solar panel generating capacity installed year by year has quadrupled since 2006, driven by government incentives, consumer demand and a plunge in prices.
“Looking forward, the question isn’t whether the U.S. solar installation market will grow, but how fast it will grow,” said Shayle Kann, managing director of solar research for GTM.
California has typically been the solar industry’s most important market within the United States. California rebates helped stoke consumer demand for solar panels, and a state law will soon force California’s large utility companies to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources.
Other states, however, are following California’s solar installation lead. In 2009, only seven states installed enough solar panels to generate 10 megawatts or more, according to the association. By the end of this year, 15 states should pass that mark.
“This is very crucial, because ultimately, the growth of the U.S. solar market depends on having a true, 50-state market,” Kann said.
A steep drop in worldwide prices for solar panel products also helped fuel the market’s installation growth, even as it put pressure on solar companies. A separate report released Tuesday by a division of the California Public Utilities Commission found that the price for solar systems in California has dropped 18.8 percent since peaking at $10.35 per watt in October 2008. A typical home solar system generates 2 to 4 kilowatts.
However, the commission’s report also found that the price of large photovoltaic solar installations used by the state’s utilities has risen. One possible explanation offered by the report: The California law that requires utilities to increase their use of renewable power has created a seller’s market, allowing solar installation companies to charge more than they would have otherwise.