Utilities on the Forefront of Solar Power Growth | PG&E Currents

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Utilities on the Forefront of Solar Power Growth | PG&E Currents

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The Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma County, Ariz., now qualifies as the world’s largest operating photovoltaic power plant, with peak generating capacity of 250 MW. It provides power for PG&E customers. (Photos by First Solar.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 3:30pm

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Electric utilities recently led the nation to the second best quarter on record for new solar installations, according to a new report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).  Of the 742 megawatts (MW) of new solar photovoltaic capacity installed nationwide from April through June, utilities accounted for a record 477 MW.

One likely factor was price: Large utility-scale projects cost only half as much per watt as residential-sized installations. Despite falling costs, however, solar remains more expensive than efficient natural gas-fired generation, though it produces no harmful air emissions or greenhouse gases.

By the end of Q2, the United States had about 5,700 MW of solar generating capacity and employed more than 100,000 Americans, according to the report.

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Keywords: Energy | CSR. Solar | PG&E | PG&E Currents | pacific gas & electric | utlities

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