December 09, 2011

Rooftop Solar Charges Ahead

Posted In | By Shaun

A common criticism of rooftop solar is that deployment is too slow to address the urgency of climate change.  While the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions is certainly pressing, rooftop solar is quick to bloom when the right policies are in place.  The majority of Germany’s 53,000 megawatts of clean energy is in the form of distributed generation.  In Australia, over 500,000 homes have solar panels on the roof thanks to the country’s feed-in-tariff.

We could use better policies in the US to match Germany and Australia’s expansion in distributed solar generation, such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) or proper feed-in-tariffs, but rooftop solar is establishing deep roots already.  Solar leasing company SolarCity announced that it secured financing with major banks to install solar panels on 120,000 military homes to produce 300 megawatts of clean energy. That is in addition to another nationwide project to install 733 megawatts on industrial rooftops as part of Project Amp.  Other business are recognizing the cost savings possible with rooftop solar, including Ikea, Kohls, and Wal-Mart, with plans to install solar panels on dozens of their stores.  All of this progress is in addition to a milestone announcement, when California announced that it had already installed 1,000 megawatts of rooftop solar as of November 2011.

There simply is no need to destroy ecologically intact lands for massive energy facilities when rooftop solar is efficient, clean, and less expensive.