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Solar Power Blooms Across the Country

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As the days get longer, I am reminded that summer is just around the corner. The extra daylight is reinvigorating my garden. But lately, another bloom has captured my attention: the solar photovoltaic (PV) installations sprouting up across the country.

Solar jobs across the country

The Solar Foundation recently released an interactive map and a report that ranks states by the number of PV installations and solar industry jobs. It may not surprise you that sunny states like Arizona, Hawaii, and California landed the numbers one, two, and three spots respectively for solar jobs per capita. But solar PV is not just a Western/Pacific phenomenon. Massachusetts and New Jersey also report large numbers of solar jobs per capita, and both North Carolina and Pennsylvania fall in the top-ten states for solar installations on homes.  

Boston Food Bank solar array. Image courtesy of Massachusetts Exec. Offices of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Boston Food Bank solar array. Photo: Massachusetts Exec. Offices of Energy and Environmental Affairs

The Bay State blows past its solar goal four years early

Last week, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick announced that the state had already surpassed its goal to install 250 megawatts (MW) of solar energy by 2017. The new goal has been revised to 1,600 MW by 2020.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Massachusetts increased its solar generation capacity from 16 MW in 2009 to over 250 MW, and installed 198 MW of solar power in 2012 alone.

New York extends its solar commitment

Last week, appropriately on Earth Day, the New York State Senate unanimously passed legislation that would extend the NY-Sun Initiative through 2023. The bipartisan bill, S.2522, would extend a stable and predictable long-term incentive program that would enable New Yorkers to install another 2,200 MW of solar, which would power roughly 400,000 homes. New York currently ranks 12th in the country for total installed solar capacity.

Indianapolis has several major solar farms in the works

In March, workers broke ground on a 12 MW solar installation for the Indianapolis International Airport. The project is expected to generate electricity by the end of the year, and will be the country’s largest solar generation facility located at an airport. Solar installations are also planned for the south side of the city and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Renewable energy policies are driving clean energy blooms across the country

This blog contains just a few examples of how states are taking the initiative to source larger and larger portions of their electricity supplies from renewables. For more information about how clean, renewable energy is rolling out across the country, check out the latest UCS report: How Renewable Electricity Standards Deliver Economic Benefits and read my colleague Jeff Deyette’s blog on the topic.

Bring on that sun!

Posted in: Energy Tags: , , ,

About the author: Laura Wisland is a senior energy analyst and an expert on California renewable energy policies. She holds a master’s degree in public policy. See Laura's full bio.

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3 Responses

  1. I moved to northern Florida in 2000 and bought a house, which I was fortunate enough to be able to pay off after a few years. I could then start doing what I’d wanted to for a long time: live more energy efficently. In 2003, I had a geothermal HVAC system installed. A few years later, I had a solar hot-water system installed. When Florida offered generous rebates for PVC installations, I had a 12-panel system installed. With the Federal tax credit, I was out only about 1/3 the cost. I am happy when my utility bills come in every month because they are tens, sometimes hundreds, of dollars lower than any of my neighbors’, plus, during power outages (including those during hurricanes), I have “juice” when no one else does.

    Wouldn’t you think at least one neighbor would take the plunge?

  2. My husband and I are looking into replacing our roof, when it’s time, with white shingles and solar panels. We’re in CA where there’s plenty of sunshine. The cost isn’t easy but it seems worth it to help SAVE THE WORLD!

    • Dennis Griffin says:

      Thanks for saving the world and as an added bonus you can save yourself what you formerly paid for electricity. Size your system properly and you can drive without any fuel cost. Your EV can be charged by free solar energy from your roof.
      The question now becomes why isn’t everyone SAVING THE WORLD?