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  • Tuesday, August 7, 2012


    Growing Number of Sub-500 kW PV Projects Provides US Job Creation and Cost Reductions; Encouraged by incentives and power requirements, agricultural land in the US is being converted to renewable PV energy

    July 23, 2012 (SolarBuzz)

    “While large-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar projects often grab the headlines, the recently-released NPD Solarbuzz United States Deal Tracker report indicates that 40% of PV projects currently underway in the United States are less than 500 kW in size…[C]ommercial PV projects between 50 kW and 500 kW…are often overlooked as opportunities for downstream PV suppliers and installers…[M]ore than 1,300 projects fall into this category with a cumulative PV generation of up to 200 MW.

    “Smaller PV installations often have a greater impact on communities than larger ones…[Besides the] supply of electricity…[they] cost less to install, are easier to gain permit approval, and have fewer barriers for project financing. And these projects are often installed at no cost to [hosts such as schools], municipal buildings, zoos, hospitals, and even retail stores…40% of all mid-size commercial installations in the United States (planned, under construction, or completed since January 2010) are these smaller projects…1,756 US solar projects had been completed, 338 were being installed, 13 were delayed, and another 1,174 are at the planning stage.”

    “California currently accounts for over a quarter of the total US project pipeline, stimulated by the state’s aggressive 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard target, and benefiting from the recent trend of solar projects reallocated from concentrated solar power to PV. The top six state pipelines in megawatt terms are California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii…

    “Land in the United States that had previously been used for agricultural purposes is now tending to be sacrificed to renewable energy when this presents a more profitable financial option, often encouraged by incentives or power requirements…[C]olleges have recently started using sheep to maintain the grass under PV arrays, and a test market is currently being constructed in North Carolina for a 4 MW installation to be used as a sheep and lamb farm and monitored for herd management. To date, this may be the most viable approach to utilizing agricultural land for energy production, creating a “win-win” for all involved…”


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