(#315) – In 2012, 80% of all new energy capacity in the United States came from the renewable energy industries. Wind was nearly 70% but solar electric is and will continue to be a growing share of total new energy. There are many reasons for this steady progress in photovoltaic installations.
People with funds for investment have experienced much more difficulty in securing a return that beats current solar electric. That includes the house or other building on or near which the solar electric system is installed.
A growing number of people are not only investing in solar electric installations for their homes and businesses but in the purchase of stocks in solar companies. One major new development is the tremendous surge in financial service firm interest in solar electric. Returns to date are higher than the historical average for purchase of stocks and bonds. Of course, this surge in financing makes possible an explosion in new ways to finance solar electric manufacturing and installation.
There is a measurable increase in the number of people who are investing in solar electric capacity because they know it does not make sense to invest in most of the available stock opportunities, which simply proliferate the climate change and environmental destruction. It makes no economic sense and it contradicts the goal of gaining a return that can be used to put a child through college or other pro-found goal to invest in an industry, product or service that ruins the life opportunity of their college student.
States and municipalities get solar electric. During a recent trip to Vermont, using two different major north-south arteries, I saw from the road 9 solar farms. Driving through small villages, 7 solar installations were seen on schools and 3 on banks. These observations could be matched by 100% additional solar electric capacity in the area because I was not focused at all on looking for such systems but simply visiting family.
California and Arizona require all new home construction be solar ready. Colorado and New Jersey require all new home construction firms to offer this option.
Two California cities require all new homes install solar panels. The Town of Lancaster, California, with a median income no greater than that of Sullivan County, is a town that links this town mandate to the many cost advantages of such a program and the importance of doing something about climate change. This very conservative town’s mayor states that the climate issue is a desperate one and the town can save money while helping fix the problem. The mayor of Sebastopol, California, a small, much wealthier and more liberal community, states that it is the obvious way to go because otherwise, every time you build a house you’re making the situation worse. Sebastopol is located in Sonoma County, which has a goal of reducing green house gas emissions 25 % below 1990 levels by 2015.
There are many other solar electric strategies such as community solar gardens, municipal solar power authorities, etc that will be explored next week.