Though Delaware may be a small state in terms of size and population, it is making a huge impact on the U.S. solar industry.
Renewable energy can positively impact citizens in a variety of ways. Be it cutting back energy costs or simply making the air easier to breathe, a single home solar installation can go a long way in improving the state of U.S. electricity generation and the environment.
When it comes to the growth of renewables, much of the attention tends to be focused on states like California and Arizona. These parts of the country have large and expansive deserts for large utility scale arrays, along with ample amounts of sunlight, making them great places for solar installations. However, these elements are not essentials for a thriving solar industry, and Delaware is the perfect example of this.
A strong 2013
For a state that is a fraction of the size of California, Delaware has been turning heads when it comes to solar. The price of an installation within the state fell by 16 percent during 2013, which outpaced the national average, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The low cost of solar translated into $23 million of investment in home, business and utility installations.
Over the course of the year, 9 megawatts of solar electric capacity came online, bringing the state total to 53 megawatts. This is enough sun-generated electricity to power 5,700 homes within the First State.
While Delaware's total installed capacity ranks 21st in the nation, it is important to keep in mind that its population is far less than many of the country's solar leaders at roughly 926,000 people.
Solar per capita strong
A report from the Frontier Foundation recently indicated that Wilmington, Del., is the third strongest city in solar power per capita. This means that a greater number of people are leveraging the benefits of a solar installation in Wilmington, more than even the some of the largest cities in other parts of the country like Los Angeles and Phoenix.
The News Journal reported that between 2008 and 2013, the amount of solar within the city along jumped from just 500 kilowatts to 7 megawatts.
"Encouraging solar power is the right thing to do for the environment and our economy," said Delaware Governor Jack Markell, according to the news source. "We are aggressively working toward a clean energy future and demonstrating that we can have both a strong economy and a healthy environment. That means creating a robust market for solar and other clean energy systems, creating clean energy jobs, expanding our solar energy industry and improving air quality by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels."
Solar capacity within the state has grown as a result of numerous statewide initiatives aimed at making the investment more lucrative. One program is the Solar Renewable Energy Credits market, which only operates in a select number of states. Each time a system generates one megawatt hour of electricity, it earns a credit that can be sold at an auction house, allowing installation owners to earn money and helping utilities meet state renewable energy standards.