On Valentines Day, the University of Maryland, College Park agreed to install one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) rooftop solar energy systems in the entire state atop its Severn Building -- a building that stands roughly one mile away from the main College Park campus. University officials also announced that they will use a $630,000 grant from the state's Sunburst Initiative Program to fund a majority of the installation. The Sunburst funds are meant to help fund renewable energy projects at public buildings throughout the state, and the University of Maryland is one of the first public schools in the state to receive funding through the program. The rest of the $2.6 million project will be funded by Washington Gas Energy services.
Some California environmental groups want 2011 to bring about a friendlier relationship between themselves and the solar energy industry. To that end, several state environmental organizations, led by the California Desert and Renewable Energy Working Group and Defenders of Wildlife, have come up with a list of recommendations they hope the U.S. Interior Department will consider when approving future solar energy projects. The U.S. Interior Department had a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, February 10, and discussed the list of requests submitted by the group of environmentalists. The department has yet to formally respond.
The symbolism can't get much better. In southern West Virginia, a region known for its coal, a new rooftop solar energy system has been installed in Williamson and is now producing clean energy.
In February 2009, the U.S. government passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) -- a bill intended to create new jobs and spark economic activity. Roughly $94 billion of the $787 billion act was set aside for invesments in renewable energy.
Earlier this week, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) -- the utility service provider for nearly 400,000 customers in southern Arizona -- completed a new 1.6-megawatt (MW) solar installation at the University of Arizona's Science and Technology Park in southeast Tucson. Today, the utility is using its new solar source as an opportunity to offer its customers a new way to purchase solar power.
For the last 30 years, the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook, British Columbia has been gathering data to prove that the region has one of the highest solar intensities in all of Canada. For the most part, the airport's figures have failed to garner significant support for major solar energy development in the area. Now, it appears, the movement is catching some attention and spurring clean energy development.
After announcing in October 2010 plans power eight of its stores and warehouses throughout California with solar energy, the Swedish furniture and home product retailer IKEA made it known last week that it isn't done yet.
Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York: residents of these states can expect prime opportunities to go solar in 2011, as these five state's governors have made solar energy production and solar technology development a top priority for the new year and beyond.
More good solar news came out of New Jersey earlier this week as the North Jersey Media Group -- which is comprised of several community newspapers including The Record and the Herald News -- announced that it has partnered with KDC Solar to install a roughly 4.2-megawatt (MW) of solar energy system at its Rockaway, New Jersey printing facility.
You can add the Pershing County School District in Nevada to the long list of districts across the country that have installed solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems atop their schools to save money on utility bills and promote environmental consciousness.