Solar, solar everywhere

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editors-blog-entry3Solar is going up everywhere, and in some places it’s going up fast as well.

Just take a look around you. Chances are you’ll see more solar than you did 10 years, five years, and, if you live in solar hot spot like Colorado, more even than just one year ago.

I was in Boulder, Colo. on Sunday, participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count there, and was impressed with how much solar I saw – definitely more than a year ago when I also participated in the same count in the same area.

In fact, I was kicking myself for forgetting to bring my camera along. That way, I could have included some pictures of the at least 30 different residential solar installations I saw in our relatively small Boulder Bird Count quadrant.

Okay, so Boulder – sometimes derisively referred to as the “People’s Republic of Boulder” – might be an exception.

Only it isn’t.

Solar in Denver, Colo.
In the neighborhoods near the University of Denver, where I work, solar is popping up all over the place. In fact, I spent 15 minutes about a week ago taking pictures of half a dozen solar installations, including a very impressive one with solar PV and solar thermal. I found more installations as I went, and I’m sure if I had had more time, I would have continued to find more. The half dozen I took a picture of were all within a tiny one-mile radius.

solar-map2It’s not just about what’s happening locally – although, I’m definitely excited by what I’m seeing here on Colorado’s Front Range. Solar has been going up a rapid rate globally as well in countries like Italy, Spain, China, and Australia, to name a few.

In fact, Australia added more solar PV in 2010 than in the previous nine years. True, the land Down Under ought to be adding solar – a lot of it, to make up for the fact that, according to some estimates, on a per capita basis, it’s the world’s worst CO2 offender, even worse than the U.S.!

Solar in Germany
And then there’s the global leader, Germany. Thanks to a national feed-in tariff, which requires that utitilities buy electricity produced by people who have solar at a rate that makes solar very attractive, solar has grown tremendously in Germany.

Who knows, maybe we’ll soon see more of our neighbors do what everyone should be doing: Joining the growing global solar revolution.

It’s anecdotal I know, but I saw radical difference in the number of rooftop solar installations in Germany between a visit in the summer of 2006 and another in the summer of 2008. In fact, as I travelled across Germany by train in the summer of 2008, I couldn’t believe how much solar I saw – and a lot more has been added since.

Solar in our neighborhood
Of course, I don’t need to travel all the way to Germany anymore to see evidence solar is very definitley on its way up. Soon, I’ll be able to walk just 200 meters out our front door and see another solar PV installation, right in our very own Aurora, Colo. neighborhood. Yes, one of our neighbors is adding solar. This in a neighborhood where I thought I would never see another solar PV installation – Aurora is not Boulder after all.

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Our neighbors will be getting a 5.7 kW system in April. We’ve got an outstanding roof for solar, essentially due south-facing with no shading between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Our neighbors’ roof is even better. South-facing, even less shade than ours, and a slightly better roof pitch.

Can’t wait until their system — which they’ll be leasing from SunRun, and which will be installed by Namaste Solar – is online.

We’ve got about 30 other great solar roofs in our 55-house neighboor.

Who knows, maybe we’ll soon see more of our neighbors do what everyone should be doing: Joining the growing global solar revolution.


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