US Utilities increased 2009 Solar Production by 66 Percent
The top ten US utility-scale power facilities increased solar energy production by 66 percent in 2009, according to a study released by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) during the Utility Solar Conference last week. The overproduction of solar panels in 2009 -- a backlash resulting from Spain phasing out their Feed-in Tariffs -- cut the price up to 50 percent.
These figures just represent a portion of the projects currently underway, since the study only rated projects that began construction or were online in 2009. The biggest obstacle is the long environmental review faced by new solar facilities, which can take two years to be approved, a much shorter time span than imposed on oil and gas companies.
According to Julia Hamm, the Executive Director of SEPA, the solar energy business is picking up, with 35 states now adding renewable energy standards and the federal Climate Bill pending passage by the Senate. She said these figures should encourage all utility companies to invest in solar power, saying that "one thing is clear from these results, now is a great time to take another look at solar electric power."
image credit: Life