A lot of solar news came out of two very different ‘mids’ last week, the mideast and the midwest. The first is seeing some developments after being talked about for years, while the latter is seeing interest in solar and other renewables grow. Two of the world’s largest entities, the Department of Defense and Walmart continue to see more value in solar and are continuing to install it as they try to green their energy supply. Meanwhile another town in California will ensure that all new homes include solar.
Solar projects for the mideast have been discussed for years and more countries are moving forward in developing solar for a number of purposes, local power, power for Europe, power for desalinization plants and for oil extraction. Last week both Kuwait and Morocco moved forward on concentrated solar projects (CSP). Kuwait’s projects are being used for a variety of uses, including enhanced oil recovery and to boost power produced at a 280 megawatt integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC) system. Morocco’s CSP systems will provide electricity as the country plans to build 2 gigawatts of solar projects out by 2020.
While solar has been on the attack in much of the U.S. it seems that throughout the midwestern states, from Minnesota to Ohio, interest in solar is growing. For instance, Minnesota’s legislature developed a compromise Omnibus Energy Bill that will allow both houses to vote on it before the state’s legislative session ends this week. The bill increases the amount of solar that utilities must have in their generating portfolio.
Elsewhere in the midwest solar is on the rise, too. For instance, the Indianapolis International Airport recently announced that it would add a 12.5 megawatt solar array (it already has a large array installed) and Columbus, Ohio is installing 636 kilowatt rooftop array on a municipal building as part of its larger Get Green Columbus project.
Two of the world’s biggest energy users, the U.S. Department of Defense and Walmart, are adding in huge amounts of solar. Last week the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) introduced a new report detailing the military’s efforts to add in 3 gigawatts of solar by 2025. It already has more than 130 megawatts installed. The department sees the introduction of more solar and renewable energy as an issue of energy security, allowing it rely less heavily on energy with fluctuating prices and foreign sources.
For it’s part Walmart just completed 8 PV arrays at locations across Massachusetts. That’s in addition to the solar it has installed at more than 100 stores with solar in California alone. The company has also announced plans to source 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
Last month, Lancaster, Calif., made waves when it became the first municipality in the U.S. to require solar on all new homes. Now a second California municipality, Sebastopol, has passed a similar measure. Solar already is more widespread in California than just about anywhere else in the U.S., and as more cities and towns across the state enact such measures, solar should become increasingly prevalent.