Solar Installations Booming

The number of solar installations – both large and small-scale – is booming. In 2013, the United States added enough new photovoltaic panels to generate a maximum of 4.2 gigawatts of electricity, roughly the output of four nuclear reactors. Over the past five years, the number of residential installations has grown at an average annual rate of 70 percent, according to the NPD Solarbuzz market information firm.

This article by David R Baker in the SF Chronicle, focuses on the business side of solar — who has failed and who has prospered– but one nugget is the fast increase in its use.  It would be good to see projections, especially how fast and how much fossil-fuel sources could be retired.  On a recent landing in Albuquerque I was stunned by how few roof solar installations I saw — in that land of perpetuals sunshine.

new-solar-cells-efficiency

On the other hand:

In 2013, the Edison Electric Institute issued a paper warning that electric utilities face “disruptive challenges”, including the rise of distributed energy resources, like rooftop solar.  In recent months, we have seen a building move by utilities to place roadblocks in the way of solar energy deployment, making it more difficult and expensive for businesses and homeowners to self generate electricity.

Now more confirmation. This will be a fight.

San Diego Union Tribune:

After resigning for health reasons, a member of the California Public Utilities Commission has warned of intense pressure by utilities to protect against the incursion of rooftop solar energy.

Commissioner Mark Ferron announced Wednesday that he could no longer perform his duties as commissioner after two years of treatment for prostate cancer. In a jocular parting report, he praised California for its leading role on energy and climate policy, while warning that its utilities “would still dearly like to strangle rooftop solar if they could.”

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