Saturday, July 16, 2011

Solar Growth

According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), growth in U.S. solar energy installations remains strong. Their recently released  quarterly report shows that two-thirds more solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity was added in the first quarter of this year than during first quarter of 2010. As of early April, the cumulative size of all grid-tied solar installations stood at 2.85 gigawatts — enough to power about 600,000 U.S. homes.

Most people that know me know that I am a big fan of solar energy. It just makes sense.  The energy source is FREE - of huge importance in these economically challenging times.  It is CLEAN - of huge importance to the health of the planet.  It creates jobs - anyone seen the latest unemployment figures?  So why, oh why, are only a handful of states leading the way in solar energy use?

California is not the only state with abundant sunshine. Florida is called the Sunshine State for a reason.  New Mexico is predominately desert with an annual rainfall average below 14 inches. Nevada is the driest state with less than 10 inches a year, and has one of the most energy-consuming cities in the world - Las Vegas. In rural areas where traditional electric power distribution is difficult and expensive to build and maintain, solar would seem a viable alternative.

Now I will be the first to say that solar power does not work everywhere. Bellingham, Washington, for instance only averages about 35% sunshine, and Hawaii is the wettest state in the US with average yearly rainfall of 63 inches. However, in states with abundant sunshine and relatively low rainfall amounts, solar power should be a dominant energy source.

Until next time...become the change you imagine.