In his State of The Union Speech, President Barack Obama noted that Americans are flipping the switch on as much new solar power every three weeks today as they did in all of 2008. There are good and growing reasons for that explosive growth.
And all indications are that solar adoption in the United States will only continue to accelerate in the coming years. The reason: solar technology is advancing rapidly. It’s becoming more and more affordable and more and more popular.
Just as cell phones started as cumbersome bricks that cost a fortune and made a statement about the people who used them, rooftop solar panels started out as a weird and expensive technology that we weren’t sure would catch on.
Today, Bolivian women pull flip phones from the pockets of their traditional garb and American six-year-olds play Candy Crush on their parents’ iPhones without anyone batting an eye.
Investment in rooftop solar along the East Coast is soaring, in part, because of popular solarize programs.
Solarize programs concentrate a solar installer’s marketing and installation efforts in a singe community to reduce overhead so community members can enjoy discounted solar installation prices. Cities can coordinate the events on their own, though many Eastern states are providing funding and marketing support for communities that decide to encourage residents to go solar.
Nearly 100 people attended a Solarize event in Avon, Conn. Earlier this month.
“It was a great workshop,” said Jill Appel with Astrum Solar, the installer selected to lead the Solarize Avon program. “It’s so energizing talking to be at these events because they’re all excited about it.”
Going 100 percent renewable sounds like something that Masdar City is doing over there in the United Arab Emirates. It doesn’t seem like something an average American city, company or utility could pursue right now. But it is happening.
Several environmental groups are working to assist municipalities and businesses that are making the pledge to get all their energy exclusively from renewable sources like solar and wind. And more and more are committing to doing it.
Azaar, an environmental campaign organization recently submitted a petition to the United Nations featuring signatures from 2.2 million people around the world who support a push for 100 percent renewable resources.
Solar panels are beautiful in their own way, but when a building is architecturally significant, it doesn’t work to slap a few panels on the roof and call it green. As demand for architecturally appealing solar increases, artists like Sarah Hall are gaining a new degree of notoriety.
Hall is a renowned glass artist best known for her beautiful stained glass pieces in iconic churches and prominent buildings throughout the world. But in recent years, her name is circulating in new architectural realms.