Solar has been all over the news lately, as more and more Americans realize it generates jobs, stimulates the economy and lowers prices for ratepayers. In this roundup, Powered by Facts is sharing highlights from stories about how corporate America is adopting solar, why Texas is leading the nation in renewables and how Loudoun County is planning to help residents benefit from solar.
Corporate America Loves Solar Energy
In its recently released 2016 Solar Means Business report, the Solar Energies Industry Association (SEIA) tracks the adoption of solar energy by America’s Top Companies. In its 5th annual report, which focuses on America’s largest adopters, and represents 16% of all non-residential, non-utility-scale solar PV capacity in the country, the SEIA found that solar has expanded from 300MW in 2012 to more than 1GW this year. In the first 3 quarters of 2016, companies in this report installed 142 MW, which is the highest total since 2013. Other highlights include finding that the systems in the report collectively produce 1.5 million MWh annually, which is equivalent to the electricity needed to power 193,000 homes.
Read more here.
Texas Leads U.S. in Use of Renewable Energy
Most of us think of oil – Texas tea – when we think of the Lone Star state, but it has become a leader in the development and use of renewable energy. Wind power leads the renewable sector there, but solar energy production is growing rapidly “spurred on by the state’s abundant sunshine and the sharp drop in the price of solar panels in recent years.” As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a visit to Texas, “Millions of jobs will be created in the building of, and in the maintenance and running of, these kinds of energy production facilities.” In Texas, the push is mainly about cost and jobs, and it is evolving the renewable energy industry. Now, companies that have focused on wind are also developing solar projects to balance out their systems and produce energy around the clock.
Read more here.
Solar Power Push Comes to Loudoun
Promotion of solar for homes and businesses finally is coming to Loudoun County! County government is working with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) and the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) to make solar power more accessible and affordable. Solar prices continue to drop and the federal tax credit for solar has been extended. In addition to those incentives, the partnership will help residents find additional discounts and navigate the Solar Renewable Energy Credit market. Adding solar can raise a home’s value as much as $22,000, according to the NVRC.
Read more here.
New maps show where to generate solar energy in South Carolina
A Clemson University team has created a map that shows the best places in South Carolina for building one-megawatt developments. According to the story, the state has more than enough land suitable to generate the large amounts of solar power that would be needed to meet goals calling for all energy to come from renewable sources by 2050. The Clemson research could help South Carolina plan for continuing its growth in generating solar energy, which, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, grew 303 percent in the past year. There are lands suitable for one- and five-megawatt developments are peppered across the state.
Read the story here.