ROCKFORD, Minn. -- David Schmidt has been intrigued by the idea of generating power from the sun for a long time, but he had never taken the next step.
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In the cleantech sector, pretty much everyone knows the acronym RPS, for Renewable Portfolio Standards. Since the first RPS policy in the U.S., implemented in Iowa in the late 1990s, 30 states have passed similar policies to promote the installation of renewable energy projects and expedite penetration (overcoming the ambivalence or outright opposition of utilities) of renewable energy in electric power supply.
"For most of these states, they're looking at it for economic development and job creation," Ghassemi said, underscoring the reasons why solutions such as cost incentives and utility quotas haven't helped states like New Mexico catch up to California and New Jersey, an unlikely solar leader.
The big question for any homeowner considering installing solar power is a simple one: How quickly will the system pay for itself?
The short answer: It depends on where you live.
Residents here probably won't notice that their water and sewage treatment systems will soon be powered by fields of solar panels but a project to convert the plants is nearing completion.
Two new solar energy farms are generating a small but growing supply of electricity in West Tennessee, the latest signs of progress in an industry that proponents say is primed to add jobs and bolster rural and urban power supply.
Connecticut's public works regulator plans to distribute $720 million to zero-emissions, renewable-energy generation and $300 million to low-emissions generation over the next several years, detailing for the first time how the state will spend more than $1 billion of required investments in commercially generated renewable power.
While solar offers clean renewable energy, that doesn't mean making PV has always been an entirely environmentally or socially responsible business.
Tennessee's big annual sun spot - 2012 Tennessee Valley Solar Solutions Conference - opened Tuesday at Memphis Cook Convention Center as if riding a snowball that is gathering speed and mass.
Walmart recently expanded its solar commitment to Colorado by partnering with SolarCity to begin six new solar projects, which will reduce air pollution and help the state get closer to its renewable energy goals.