Rooftop solar just got a huge PR boost. The U.S. Department of Energy has recently released a report stating that the potential for solar meeting energy demands has almost doubled. The report was completed by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and advances in the technology used to measure the potential of solar have helped to show that up to 40% of the energy required to fuel cities can come from small buildings. Estimates have jumped from 664 to 1,118 gigawatts of installed capacity, with places like California reaching numbers like 74%, due to environmental and population factors. With the cost of solar continuing to go down, coupled with major growth in the industry, the technology will be more and more in reach of the average North American family. The new report will only serve to strengthen not only the environmental arguments for solar, but the financial ones as well.
Reclaiming contaminated or industrial land to build solar farms is a fantastic way to breathe new life into unused spaces. The Sunmine solar farm in Kimberly B.C. is a great example of how this can be implemented here at home. These types of initiatives not only give purpose to otherwise dead sites, but can help alleviate concerns that solar farms will encroach onto greenspaces.