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CHICAGO, IL -- Speaking at the opening session of Solar Power International 2013 -- the largest solar trade show in America -- Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association delivered the following remarks:
Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to Chicago. Welcome to SPI 2013. And welcome to the Big Leagues.
Homeowners across the United States have begun a rooftop solar revolution. Since 2000, more than 1,460 megawatts of residential solar installations have been installed across the country, and more than 80 percent of that capacity was added in the past four years. In 2012 alone, rooftop solar installations reached 488 megawatts, a 62 percent increase over 2011 installations and nearly double the installed capacity added in 2010.
The media has recently been full of stories about electric utilities being nervous and down right reactionary to adding solar (and wind) on the electric grid. On October 15th, The Huffington Post’s story on the Hawaii Electric Company (HECO) reported, “hundreds of Oahu customers have gotten burned in their transition to solar. They have gotten caught in limbo since September 6 when HECO changed the rules for connecting solar systems.”
In northern New Mexico the sun shines nearly every day of the year. If solar energy is going to be viable anywhere, it will be here—and a small electric cooperative in historic Taos is taking advantage of it. In addition to supporting new solar projects in its service area, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative is offering its customers the opportunity to buy solar energy from “plots” in a “garden” of solar power generation.
T. Lyle Ferderber of Frankferd Farms in Valencia has been harvesting grains such as corn, oats, and barley for more than 30 years. Recently he has taken to harvesting another crop -- sunshine.
In what could become the largest solar power project of its kind in the nation, the Department of Education is proposing to install photovoltaic panels on every public school in Hawaii over the next five years in a bid to cut electricity costs and move the state closer to its renewable energy goals.
Monday night as I was camped out in front of my Twitter feed — safe and dry in San Francisco — friends and family in New York started tweeting about power failures all over lower Manhattan. Their cell phones, running on batteries and tapping into their carrier’s high speed wireless networks — many that are backed up with diesel generators — were still up, even as the power grid went down across many parts of the East Coast.
Michigan is playing host to a major battle over renewable energy this fall. On one side are clean energy proponents promoting a ballot initiative that would increase the state’s renewable electricity targets to 25 percent by 2025. On the other side are large coal-dependent utilities fighting to prevent any new increases.
Great Falls High decided to expand their science solar project after the first installation of two solar panels went so well. Now there are 72 solar panels on the roof of south campus, helping to power the entire building.