The Sunrise of Solar Power

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Posted by:
Gary Graham
Energy Services Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

Those glimmers on the horizon are the first rays of solar power becoming a viable alternative for commercial buildings.  Between the dropping cost of solar instillations and the growing array of federal, state and local incentives; the economic viability is becoming a reality.  And, depending on pending legislation, that dawn may be happening a lot faster than anyone anticipated.

This past October, in its “Tracking the Sun II” Report, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab noted that the cost of solar photovoltaic installations has dropped from $10.80 per watt in 1998 to $7.50 per watt in 2008, without considering any governmental incentives.

The December issue of Building Operating Management magazine reports that the Pendleton, Oregon, water treatment plant is using a solar photovoltaic system to reduce is power cost to 4.68 cents per kilowatt hour versus the 4.81 cents it pays the city for grid power.  Admittedly, the favorable variance was achieved through tax credits and utility incentives, but those benefits are becoming more widely available to anyone who is willing to commit to renewable energy like solar power.

In fact, there is a fabulous solar database that provides maps and charts of solar power incentives around the country.

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