Solar Power In The U.S. Becoming A More Popular, Cost-Saving Option For Homeowners

Ben Kunz wanted to do “the green thing” and save on his electric bill without paying a lot of money up front. So instead of buying a solar system for his house in Cheshire, Connecticut, he leased one.

“I thought it was a pretty good deal,” he said. “I lean a little environmentalist so I’m concerned about global warming.”

Increasing numbers of U.S. homeowners are relying on the sun to meet much of their hot water and electricity needs. In fact, residential electricity produced by solar in the first quarter of 2013 was almost 10 times higher than that generated in 2008, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

But the potential for more is huge.

Consider this: “The amount of solar energy falling on the United States in one hour of noontime summer sun is about equal to the annual U.S. electricity demand,” the Energy Department says in its SunShot Vision Study.

Written by Carole Feldman. To read the full article, click here.

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How Solar Tech is Breeding Independence from The Grid

For thousands of years, the sun has been revered by many cultures for its enormous power and size. Now, people are admiring the giant star for a very tangible reason: its ability to help lower electric bills. Installing solar panels will save the average person around $1000 a year on their energy bills, notes SolarEnergy.net – not too shabby!

In an effort to reduce the amount of money they spend on energy, more people are becoming interested in “going off the grid” and leaving traditional electric and gas companies – and their corresponding high bills – and getting energy from other sources. The use of solar power in residential homes was nearly 10 times higher during the first quarter of 2013 than it was five years ago, the Solar Energy Industries Association reports.

One way to take going off the grid from fantasy to reality is through solar power. By hooking up one’s home, RV or other dwelling to solar power, it is now easier than ever to go off the grid but still enjoy creature comforts such as air conditioning, television and computers.

Speaking of television, there are options for folks who are interested in alternative viewing options for their favorite programs while living off the grid. These include DirecTV packages that can work with personal computers and even mobile devices.

Written by CleanTechies. To read the full article, click here.

The US solar industry puts people to work in all 50 states

According to The Solar Foundation’s (TSF) recently released interactive map, California has more solar workers than actors; more Texans work in solar than ranching; and the U.S. solar industry has more workers than the coal mining industry. Those findings and many more were discovered by The Solar Foundation team, led by Andrea Luecke, as they put together comprehensive solar job data about all fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
The data were then put into an interactive map, screenshots of which you can view below. You can access the map in its entirety, here. The map shows how the states measure up in terms of solar employment, key solar policies and number of homes powered by solar energy. TSF’s National Solar Jobs Census 2012 and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s National Solar Database were analyzed along with other sources of data to develop the map.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of the high ranking states in terms of installed solar capacity also proved to have the most solar jobs.

Written by Jennifer Runyon. To read the full article, click here.

More bases accepting solar power as an energy alternative

Airmen can expect to see more solar panels throughout their bases, in their neighborhoods and even on their rooftops.

Plans call for solar power to make up 58 percent of the military’s renewable energy capability by 2017, according to a report released in May by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The Air Force expects to generate 1 gigawatt of renewable energy by 2016. Its goal is to have enough renewable energy to supply 25 percent of all installation electricity use by 2025, Air Force officials announced last year.

With solar energy already juicing up Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and Davis-Monthan, Ariz., and projects in the works for others, the latest project is underway at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Dubbed SolarStrong, the program plans to provide solar power for up to 120,000 military homes within a five-year plan across the U.S.

Written by Oriana Pawlyk. To read the full article, click here

Solar in the Spotlight

Most of the attention may be focused on domestic oil and gas production, but it could be solar power that really helps the United States on its path to energy independence.

Aside from the high-profile bankruptcy of Solyndra—the solar panel maker that defaulted on a $528 million federal loan in 2011—the industry has been on a tear over the last couple of years. Solar installations are up more than 75 percent, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, which projects another 65 percent increase in 2013. The industry’s rapid expansion has made solar the fastest growing energy source in the United States, according to the SEIA.

Much of those gains are thanks to a combination of tumbling installation and equipment costs—photovoltaic solar costs dropped almost 30 percent in 2012, the SEIA reported—and the rise of an innovative approach to financing expensive rooftop solar panels called third-party-owned solar.

Written by Meg Handley. To read the full article, click here