In more US states than ever before, the right combination of rising power prices and increased solar incentives is creating a genuine business case for the adoption of solar power. In 2011 alone, 16 states EACH became home to over 10 megawatts of solar power.
Customer adoption of solar power over the last decade has been spurred on in part by a continued increase in average utility power prices nationwide. Deregulation of the US power industry has contributed significantly to price increases and volatility on a state by state basis, but the key factor behind rising commercial and residential power prices is simple: increasing demand. As the demand for power inexorably grows alongside an expanding US population, our country’s aging power grid is struggling to keep up. The result is an increase in the price of electricity from traditional fuel sources (coal, nuclear, and gas). In fact, the average price of wholesale electricity in real dollars is projected to increase 35% by 2030 (source: Energy Information Administration).
As utilities and governments have embraced alternative sources of power generation, solar has earned its place in the national conversation. No, solar is not a silver bullet solution or a replacement for baseload power generation like that provided through traditional fuel sources. However, solar will play a meaningful role in our country’s energy future and an increasing number of utilities and customers alike have already captured the benefits of “going solar”.