November 8, 2016 Read More →

Drop in Solar Costs Drives Uptake in U.S.

Thomas Content for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Solar power appears to be on the verge of something big.

Records are being set at the national and local levels when it comes to adding solar panels, and new technology announcements have folks turning their heads about turning to the sun to power their homes.

Buoyed by a 63% drop in prices over just the past five years, solar installations are being built at an eye-popping pace.

Consider these milestones announced over just the past two weeks:

The number of participants in a group-buying solar program has tripled since this summer, with a total of 52 homes and businesses in Milwaukee and Shorewood adding solar panels. That marks the largest group buy ever of this kind in the state. The program provides discounts by bundling solar installations.

Dairyland Power Cooperative unveiled a series of new solar projects that are pushing its solar deployment inside Wisconsin to nearly 20 megawatts. As a result of that and other projects, more panels will be added between July of this year and the end of 2017 than were installed statewide prior to that stretch.

A new forecast by the U.S. Energy Department says the amount of solar energy produced nationwide is poised to triple between 2014 and 2019.

Nationally, solar installations jumped 45% in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2015.

Cutting-edge technology could give solar power an even bigger “wow” factor. Elon Musk, known for developing electric-powered Tesla cars and pushing for commercial space travel, sees the potential for solar-powered roof tiles, such as those made by his company SolarCity, that resemble conventional shingles.

“I really think it’s going to get to the point where if you get a normal roof it’s sort of odd,” Musk, founder/CEO of Tesla, said during an interview last week on CNBC.

Full article: Sunny disposition: Falling prices fuel solar boom

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