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Delaware Ranks High For Solar Energy

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DOVER, Del. - Solar energy is on the rise, and according to a new report, Delaware is one of the nation's leaders of the charge.

The Environment America Research and Policy Center ranked Delaware 7th in the nation for solar installed per capita in Lighting the Way: The Top Ten States That Helped Drive America's Solar Energy Boom in 2013.

Delaware ranks 20th in the nation for total solar electricity capacity.

This report comes a day after Smyrna, Del., announced its plan to build a solar generation facility.

Last year, solar capacity in Delaware grew by 20%, the study shows, bringing its total capacity to 53 megawatts.

“Solar energy is emerging as a go-to energy option here in Delaware and across the country,” Environment America's Energy Program Director Rob Sargent said. “Thanks to the commitment of Delaware's leaders, this pollution-free energy option is poised to play a major role in helping us meet our energy needs and our emission reduction targets.”

The growth of solar energy is a national trend; the country's capacity tripled between 2011 and 2013, Environment America found. The 10 states with the most solar installed per capita are responsible for 89% of the country's solar electricity capacity but only represent 26% of the population and 20% of total electricity consumption.

“Encouraging solar power is the right thing to do for the environment and our economy,” Delaware Governor Jack Markell said. “We are aggressively working toward a clean energy future in Delaware, demonstrating we can have both a strong economy and a healthy environment. That means creating a robust market for solar and other clean energy systems, creating clean energy jobs, expanding our solar industry, and improving air quality.”

Eliminating pollution is another reason to “go solar.” Solar power does not emit any carbon. For this reason, it produces 96% less global warming pollution than coal-fired power plants and 91% less than natural gas-fired power plants, the report states.

Environment America believes some states' efforts to encourage the switch to solar power are at least partly responsible for their success.

In Delaware for example, strong renewable energy standards and initiatives like the Green Energy Program -- which has funded about $17 million in solar rebates for hundreds of homes, businesses, schools and organizations -- drive individuals and businesses to solar energy.

“Delaware's officials deserve tremendous credit for recognizing the environmental and economic benefits of solar and taking action to make it a reality,” Sargent said. “As more people see the benefits of solar energy, we're confident clean, limitless energy from the sun will be a growing part of Delaware's plan to reduce pollution from power plants.”

 

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