2012 was a big year for solar, both domestically and globally, with some unlikely players throwing their hats into the ring and upping the ante on achievable power generating capacity. Here's a wrap-up of some of the year's most impactful events in the solar industry, with a little added perspective from some experts in the field.
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Michael Peck still finds it amazing that a tiny area smack in the middle of rural northwest Ohio can have such a large solar footprint.
Granted, since last February, the city of Napoleon has been home to a solar panel-making operation headed by Mr. Peck, chairman of Isofoton North America Inc., an offspring of Spanish solar panel Isofoton.
NAPOLEON, OHIO – With a backdrop of the Isofoton factory floor, the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®) today presented a plaque of recognition to Mayor Ronald Behm and the City of Napoleon as American Solar Champions.
With two major solar installations and a growing solar manufacturing facility embedded in a city of less than 10,000 people, Napoleon, Ohio is a hub for solar energy and job creation across the Buckeye State.
[RELATED: Solar Policy in Ohio]
The United States installed more solar panels in 2012 than in any previous year, according to a new report, with residential use of solar power up 70 percent over 2011.
Quick question. Your state has good sunshine, lots of open rooftops, and the cost of solar energy has been falling by 10% per year. Do you think it will take 13 years to double the 10 megawatts (MW) of installed solar power?
Renewable Energy World
On August 15, 2012, at 8 a.m., Colorado’s Xcel utility opened up its registration for a new solar gardens/virtual net metering program. It took just 30 minutes to shut the doors on applications. The utility had received 13.5 MW in those 30 minutes, more than triple the 4.5 MW allowed. This excitement is one reason why I believe that community solar is the key to widespread U.S. solar adoption, but let's go through all of them...plus the challenges to it ever happening.
The Wall Street Journal
Regarding your editorial "The Solar-Painted Desert" (Aug. 14): Solar is the latest industry the Department of the Interior leases land to, just like mining, cattle ranching and other energy sources—no special treatment has been requested or received. More lands are off-limits to solar (79 million acres) than are available. For perspective, there are 74 million acres leased by on- and offshore oil and gas projects. Also, there are no shortcuts in the National Environmental Policy Act when it comes to project reviews and approvals.
According to Ken Gray, the Rates and Renewables Branch Chief at the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency, Tyndall AFB, Fla., the array has to be built and generating electricity by the end of the year.
A combination of federal and state tax credits, plummeting equipment prices and an environmentally savvy population has led to a dramatic increase in the number of Wilmington rooftops outfitted with solar panels, according to local installers.
Aiming to create green jobs and make solar energy more affordable for homes and businesses, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a series of bills into effect today, August 17.