We want more solar (but perhaps on our terms)

posted by Brian Mudd - 

We want more solar (but perhaps on our terms) 

Bottom Line: The recent mandate by California for all new homes to include solar panels brought about a new round of discussion and debate regarding solar adaptation. I've long been an advocate of solar as it's heavily under-used, especially in Florida, though I'd like to see it happen through market forces and consumer choices rather than government mandate. The new Cali law has brought about new research on solar and what we'd like to see happen.  

According to Deloitte Insights... 

  • Solar is the preferred renewable energy source for every generation (wind is a distant second) 

But about the adaptation. Nationally only 14% of homeowners have inquired about renewables for their home. Only 6% have taken any kind of action to implement energy alternatives. Not surprisingly cost is the biggest objection to implementing solar and/or other renewables. With all of that being said we are seeing significant increases solar use. According to the US Department of Energy solar power production in the US increased by 41%. Solar's overall role in energy production is still small, 2% of all US power is now coming via solar but the growth is beginning to reach scale and that's huge for taking the next big step.  

The key to driving down the cost of solar is achieving larger scale that can help drive down the cost of production in the process. Plus, an increased footprint leads to more competition and increased innovation within solar. That's huge too because the ability to derive more power out of smaller panels is also important for broad-based adaptation. Unsurprisingly the leaders in solar adaptation are western states – California, Nevada and Hawaii. Probably surprising is the fourth leading state... It's Vermont. That's a reminder of how far solar technology has come – that Vermont's environment can sustain thriving solar power use and a reminder about the missed opportunities here in the "Sunshine State" 

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