Solar Power on the Rise Secret to Solar Power

Two factors have hurt the industry’s growth. The first is abstract and well ingrained in the American psyche: the negative association of “green” technologies with inefficiency and idealistic, hippie-fueled impracticality. The second is concrete and recent: the sleek, vacant headquarters of Solyndra, the infamous federally subsidized solar-panel manufacturer that went bankrupt in 2011.

The advantages of such a system are obvious. Not only would Americans pay less for energy, but with solar they would also provide power back to the grid at peak hours, when utilities are the most taxed — and when they turn to their most expensive and dirtiest “peak” power plants, which are standing by for just such occasions. We would also avoid some blackouts, because fewer houses would be reliant on the grid, and transmission failures wouldn’t cascade in the same way. By some estimates, 500 megawatts of rooftop solar — roughly the total amount of solar that California installed just last year, equivalent to about 80,000 residential systems — would have prevented the blackout of 2003 and saved the U.S. economy several billion dollars.

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Solar Leasing: Key Market Driver As Government Incentives Dry Up

New residential financing mechanisms and third party ownership models will be the key drivers through 2015, says Pike.

They expect the distributed solar market to grow from $66 billion in 2010 to more than $154 billion annually by 2015, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18%, raising world capacity from 9.5 gigawatts (GW) to more than 15 GW.

Between 2006-2010, total global capacity of many renewable energy technologies – including solar PV, wind power, concentrated solar power (CSP), solar water heating, and biofuels – grew at rates ranging from around 15% to nearly 50% a year. Solar PV, the dominant form of renewable distributed energy generation, increased the fastest of all renewable technologies during this period.

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Community Solar Gardens, A First for New Mexico

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, the city of Taos and the Clean Energy Collective of Carbondale, Colorado have entered into a 1.2 megawatt agreement to launch New Mexico's first community solar gardens.

Under this model, members can buy solar panels located in community arrays, on the roofs of schools and parking lots.

The Clean Energy Collective builds and maintains the solar gardens, and the local utility agrees to buy electricity from them. Members receive the same tax credits and electricity discounts as they would if the panels were installed on their own roofs. The panels have warrantees for 50 years.

This makes it possible for people to use solar even if they are renters or have properties that can't accommodate solar, and makes solar accessible to people of more income levels.

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Small Solar is 40% of US Project Pipeline

Favorable incentives and financing models continue to fuel interest in small solar projects, with installations at schools, municipal buildings, hospitals and retail stores now accounting for 40% of the US pipeline, reports NPD Solarbuzz.

More than 1,300 projects underway are between 50 kilowatts (kW) and 500 kW in capacity with a cumulative PV generation of about 200 MW, they say in the US Deal Tracker report.

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View and download the Major Solar Projects List on Slideshare

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