Last week saw some interesting developments in solar power. For instance, iconic actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in Star Trek, is going solar. Even more interesting, perhaps, a coal mining museum in Kentucky is going solar—because it’s cheaper than coal! Elsewhere numerous utilities announced big plans for solar expansion and cities keep growing their solar installations.
The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is going solar. The museum is installing solar power on its rooftop because the solar panels promise to save it between $8,000 and $10,000 in energy costs annually. The solar array is expected to pay for itself with five to seven years.
The legendary William Shatner is going solar, too. Last week the Solar Alliance announced that the actor who portrayed Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series and movies, and who has become a cultural icon, will be the face of its new “Join the Alliance—Save Money, Save the World” campaign. The campaign will launch with Shatner installing solar power on his home.
At least two major utilities—in very different parts of the country—also announced plant to significantly grow their renewable energy resources. Florida Power and Light (FPL) announced that it will add 2.1 gigawatts of solar power by 2023. That’s in addition to the 686 megawatts of solar power the company already has in operation.
Meanwhile, PacifiCorp announced plans to install 3 gigawatts of wind and solar power throughout the Rocky Mountain Region. Much of the new wind power it will install will be in Wyoming. The solar power will be installed in other states including Utah. It’s part of a $3.5 billion energy expansion plan for the company, which owns other utilities, including Rocky Mountain Power.
Last week Environment America introduced its latest “Shining Cities” report, an annual report that tracks how much solar power is installed in cities across the country. In the latest report, San Diego topped Los Angeles with a total of 303 megawatts of photovoltaics serving its residents and businesses. Los Angeles has 267 megawatts of solar power. Even the Big Apple is doing well in the rankings. New York City now has more than 100 megawatts of rooftop solar power providing clean energy for its residents.
The US’s leading, integrated solar manufacturers may end a relationship they developed in creating 8point3 Energy Partners. The company is a joint YieldCo that’s owned by First Solar and SunPower to own solar projects and create lower-cost financing for such endeavors. First Solar said it is interested in ending its part in the relationship as shifts its focus to ramping up manufacturing of its next generation of solar panels.Tweet