The Rise of Solar

The Rise of Solar

Americans are getting more and more energy from renewable sources and by 2017, up to 10% will come from solar.

With a lift from massive US solar farms, Americans will soon get 10% of their power from renewables, in part due to large-scale solar projects already built and more to come. In a recent U.S. Department report, it was estimated U.S. solar power capacity will nearly triple by 2017. A number of large solar farms have come online in the last few years and the Solar Energy Industries Association reports solar capacity for the current and planned project is more than 72 gigawatts—each gigawatt is able to power 750,000 homes.

Solar is growing in states with competing sources, such as Texas, which is traditionally an oil and gas state—but they are more and more often building utility-scale solar projects and is now the fastest growing utility-scale solar market in the country. States such as California provide political and geographic advantages to operate and expand and the Solar Star project took advantage by completing and bringing online a 579-megawatt solar plant—but they are not alone. The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, completed in 2015 adds another 550-megawatts and the Topaz Solar Farm, 550-megawatts more.

It not just about environmental conscience—it’s also cost. Solar costs a small fraction of what it did even a few years ago and is basically the price of installation.

Beyond our borders, the world too has embraced solar. The Abu Dhabi government received bids for construction of a large solar farm as 2.42 cents per kWh—less than the cost to generate power from some existing coal and gas plants and a fraction of what it would cost to build and operate a new fossil fuel plant.


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