Delaware: How a small state can make big contributions in renewable energy

Delaware is the nation's second smallest state, but despite its size, the "First State" is managing to make a big contribution in reducing country wide carbon emissions.

Located along the banks of the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay, Delaware is no stranger to natural beauty. But as greenhouse gasses continue to make profound contributions to rising water levels and natural disasters, the state could see massive damage to the landscape that has become so familiar to Delaware residents. However, many people throughout the state have taken action to protect their pristine ecology from the effects of climate change through renewable energy projects like solar energy.

The state of solar in Delaware 
There were 18 megawatts of solar energy operating at peak capacity installed last year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). This placed the state 19th in the United States for solar installations in 2012 as well as cumulative installed solar capacity. This may not seem like much, but considering it is among the country's smallest states, Delaware is proving that you do not need massive expanses of land to generate a lot of electricity.

In fact, there is currently enough solar capacity installed to power almost 5,000 homes. A large part of this is due to the $13 million invested in Delaware residential and business solar energy projects last year. Despite only receiving about 97 clear days a year, these numbers continue to defy the myth that solar energy can only thrive in places that are exceptionally sunny.

State goals and incentives
This growth can be attributed to conscious efforts being made by the state government and residents to encourage solar expansion throughout Delaware. Its renewable portfolio standard has set goals toward receiving a quarter of the state's power through renewable energy sources by 2026, with at least 3.5 percent required to come exclusively from solar energy.

However, solar incentives are empowering Delaware residents and business owners to expand beyond the renewable portfolio standard's goals by offering grants and rebates to install home and business solar PV systems. These programs often reach applicant capacity fast but are renewed on a yearly basis as demand for solar installations increases throughout the state.

Delaware serves as a particularly inspiring story for those who are concerned about the environment and wish to cut carbon emissions through solar energy efforts. While it may not be the biggest or sunniest state, it has made a noticeable commitment to the future of our country's environment.



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