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Companies Demonstrate Growing Demand For Solar With Major Investments

If there was ever doubt that solar would become a popular means of energy generation, it’s gone. Utilities, not-for-profits and private businesses are all increasing their investments in solar facilities. Some organizations are helping fund new solar farms or residential solar programs while others are installing solar panel arrays on their own facilities to increase consumption of energy from renewable means.

Solar is cropping up in both big and small ways in the U.S. and this trend is likely to continue, creating more project and employment opportunities for contractors and electricians.

Large Corporations Make Major Announcements

February saw a slew of important solar power announcements. Apple announced it finalized a $848 million power purchase agreement with First Solar – the largest ever agreement with a commercial end user instead of a utility. Apple will buy 130 megawatts of renewable energy through First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Google announced a major project with SolarCity the same month. The corporation is set to make its largest investment in renewable energy to date by providing $300 million in funding to SolarCity, which will go toward covering the upfront costs of installing residential solar energy systems for U.S. homeowners.

Kaiser Permanente reported it made multiple renewable energy deals. The company is working with NRG Energy to install solar panels at 170 of Kaiser’s facilities, including hospitals. These panels will generate a combined output of 70 MW. Kaiser will also purchase 110 MW of solar-generated electricity from NextEra Energy Resources’ Riverside County, California, facility.

Why Solar Is Growing

Beyond the obvious environmental reasons, businesses are interested in solar energy because it helps them balance their short- and long-term supply risk. Major companies, no matter what industry they are in, consume massive amounts of electricity and need to ensure they have the supply they need at the most beneficial prices they can obtain.

Solar, as well as other renewable energy options, have become more efficient and cheaper in recent years, which means their price points can now compete with the cost of energy generated from more traditional methods.

By making large investments in solar facilities large businesses have the ability to determine the cost of their electricity for 20 or 25 years – the length of their power purchase agreements. Long-term plans such as these mitigate the risk of increasing energy prices in the future.

What This Means For You

For many local contractors and electricians, major business investments in solar might not be relevant. However, investments of this kind and size should signal that solar is here to say in the American economy. Not only are businesses interested in using solar facilities to generate electricity for themselves, they’re also eager to invest in programs like SolarCity’s residential funds that increase the use of solar for the average Joe.

Solar panels and installation equipment have all come down in price in recent years while the news regarding the benefits of solar energy has become more common. Contractors and electricians should be prepared for the demand for residential solar to increase in their areas and look into offering these products and services to their customers. For more information on how to become an authorized SolarWorld installer visit the SolarWorld website.