Solar power heating up in Delaware

     (Photo courtesy of Delaware Electric Cooperative)

    (Photo courtesy of Delaware Electric Cooperative)

    A new report has ranked Delaware 11th in the nation for total solar power capacity per person. 

    The recently released report by Environment America Research & Policy Center showed Delaware outpaced sunny states like Florida last year. 

    “While Delaware has enough sunshine to meet its annual electricity needs many times over, it’s not its solar potential that has made the difference,” said Lindsey Mendelson, Environment America fellow.

    Instead, Mendelson credited state policies that encourage an increasing number of homeowners, businesses and utilities to “go solar,” for its ranking.

    “Our analysis shows that policy choices are a key driver of solar energy growth,” said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. “State and local government policy leadership is closely aligned with success in growing solar energy.”

    Delaware’s renewable energy targets call for 25 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2025; solar power accounts for 3.5 percent of that total.

    In an effort to spur investment in green energy, the state also offers financial incentives. For example, Delaware offers a solar renewable energy (SREC) program where excess power can be sold, helping solar customers recoup some of their installation expenses. 

    “Delaware is aggressively working toward a clean energy future and demonstrating that we can have both a strong economy and a healthy environment,” said Governor Jack Markell, D-Delaware.

    Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams said solar power has grown exponentially in Wilmington in part due to the nearly 200 solar energy systems that have been installed in businesses, schools, homes and government buildings.

    “The city of Wilmington’s solar power usage reflects our community’s strong commitment to integrating solar technology across a variety of platforms,” said Williams. “Expanding our use of solar and other renewable energy sources will positively impact public health and environmental quality, strengthen the economy and develop more reliable energy sources.”

    Delaware was edged out of the top 10 by Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Colorado.

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