Environment America Research & Policy Center released Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar States, a new report highlighting a solar energy boom across the country. The report ranks Delaware seventh in the nation per capita for solar installations. Last year, solar capacity in Delaware grew by 41 percent, bringing it to a total of 44 megawatts.
“Encouraging solar power is the right thing to do for the environment and our economy,” said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. “We are aggressively working toward a clean energy future in Delaware, demonstrating we can have both a strong economy and a healthy environment."
Solar is on the rise across the country. America has more than three times as much solar photovoltaic capacity as it did in 2010, and more than 10 times as much as it did in 2007. Also, the price of solar panels fell by 26 percent in 2012. Environment America attributes the solar boom to the leadership of Delaware officials and those in other leading states profiled in the report.
“The sky’s the limit on solar energy,” said Rob Sargent, energy program director of Environment America. “We commend Delaware’s leadership on solar.”
The report emphasizes that it is not availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policy for the development of the solar industry.
“Working closely with the local solar industry, Delaware has emerged as a national leader in solar energy by adopting progressive policies and programs that have led to a 25-fold increase in new solar installations since 2008,” said Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Delaware’s commitment to solar energy is paying dividends in terms of cleaner energy, lower costs and new jobs for Delawareans."
Other states profiled in the report include Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Vermont.
“Delaware’s solar success is the result of the cooperation between legislators, the administration, DNREC, the utilities, solar energy system owners and the solar industry,” said Dale Davis, president of the Delaware Solar Energy Coalition. “This open dialogue and the innovative financing model brought by the Sustainable Energy Utility have created a stabilized market allowing owners to recoup their investments over time and made our clean energy jobs sustainable.”
The report highlights the strong policies adopted by the top solar states that encouraged homeowners and businesses to go solar.
“More and more, homes and businesses are turning to solar as a pollution-free energy source with no fuel costs,” said Sargent. “With the increasing threat of global warming, we must maintain momentum. By working together, we can be on track to get at least 10 percent of our energy from the sun by 2030.”