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Solar News Blitz!

Posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 at 1:49 pm by Solar Energy USA
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The following stories relate to solar energy news in Georgia and around the United States:

US Solar Installs Hit Record High In Third Quarter

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced today that a new, record-high level of solar energy installations was reached in the third quarter of this year. 449 megawatts (MW) of solar panels were installed just in the third quarter which brings total solar power installations to 1,000MW so far this year.  Only 887MW worth of solar was installed in 2010. Experts attribute much of this year’s solar growth to the Department of Treasury’s 1603 GRANT program which expires at the end of the year. “The U.S. solar industry is on a roll, with unprecedented growth in 2011,” said Rhone Resch, President and CEO of SEIA, but “it is critical that Congress extend the 1603 program in the few days left before the end of the year.”

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Rhode Island Adding Solar To Parks, Beaches

Rhode Island officials say they are installing solar panels on several state buildings to save money on electricity. The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources says $1.5 million dollars is being invested among nine different locations which will all utilize solar energy by late February 2012. Gov. Lincoln Chafee says the panels will have a dual benefit: helping the state save energy costs and being an educational tool for students and others interested in environmental issues.

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Billionaire Warren Buffett Picks Solar Energy Investment

MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., owned by American businessman Warren Buffett, announced last week they were buying a massive solar farm in Arizona. The 550MW solar project, dubbed the Topaz Solar Farm, will be able to generate solar power for 160,000 homes. The value of the nation’s solar industry has grown 67%, to $6 billion, since 2009, making it the fastest growing segment of the nation’s renewable energy offerings, said Michelle Kinman, a clean energy advocate for the group Environment California. The solar industry also is producing jobs at a fast rate during a time of distressingly high unemployment in America, she said.

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Electric Bills Increase $300 Dollars In 5 Years

A new USA Today report on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows household electric bills have skyrocketed by more than $300 dollars in the past 5 years, the largest sustained increase since the 1970s. Although homes are filled with the latest and most energy efficient appliances, homes are using more power and homeowners are being charged more for that power. “The industry as a whole is facing higher costs because we’re retiring our aging fleet” of power plants, says Duke Energy spokeswoman Betsy Conway. Power providers cite increased costs of replacing old power plants, making transmission infrastructure more reliable, and modifying coal power plants to meet new clean air requirements.

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