Large solar power installations require a lot of space and a lot of approvals. As a reaction to this, smaller solar power installations have been approved and placed close to transmission centres. This is a more reliable and sustainable energy network than what existed before.
Over the past few weeks, some 1,300 megawattsâ€™ worth of distributed solar deals and initiatives have been announced or approved. At peak output, that is the equivalent of a big nuclear power plant.
Two weeks ago in California, regulators authorized the utility Southern California Edisonâ€™s program to install 500 megawatts of solar on commercial rooftops. A few days later, they recommended that Pacific Gas and Electric, the dominant utility in Northern California, be given the green light for its own 500-megawatt initiative that aims to install ground-mounted photovoltaic arrays near electrical substations and urban areas.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District said in January that it took only a week to sell out its 100-megawatt solar program, which offers developers the opportunity to build photovoltaic projects of up to five megawatts.
And last week, the New York Power Authority announced a program to install 100 megawatts of solar arrays around the state.
â€œAll of this is a great indication that solar prices are continuing to get a lot cheaper and that results in scale,â€ said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar, a San Francisco nonprofit that promotes renewable energy.