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Solar News Blitz!

Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 10:42 am by Solar Energy USA
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The following article contains a recap of solar installation news for the week of February 13th, 2012:

5MW Solar Farm Could Soon Power Chapel Hill

A proposed solar farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina could soon be approved to provide Chapel Hill residents with clean, renewable solar power. The million dollar solar farm totals 5MW worth of power capacity, or enough power daily for 1,000 residents. The solar project is being developed with Duke Energy, one of the premier sources for renewable energy in North Carolina.

Josh Gurlitz, chairman of Chapel Hill’s sustainability committee, said he thinks the solar farm will be a good demonstration of what Chapel Hill can do with solar energy. “I think that the positives will be the ability to show that it can be successful,” he said. “The long range benefits will certainly be in whether or not we can replicate solar projects like this at a medium scale.”

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Walmart Leads In On-site Renewable Energy

Walmart joins Intel, Kohl’s, and Whole Foods in a recent survey from the EPA measuring renewable energy use and generation. Walmart went from 8 per cent of gross power use generated from renewable energy sources in October 2011 to 28 percent in January 2012. Walmart plans to power more than 130 stores in California with solar panels by the end of 2013. “Our solar efforts in California have proven to be a great way for Walmart to build our renewable energy program,” said Mack Wyckoff, senior manager of renewable energy at Walmart.  ”We are confident that we will continue to grow our solar energy program in the U.S. and around the world because of the initial success we have had in California.”

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U.S. Army Base To Install 4.5MW PV Array

New Mexico’s White Sans Missile Range (WSMR) will soon be home to a 4.5MW (megawatt) solar energy system which will be the largest solar array installed on an Army facility. The ground-mounted solar panels will provide the Army base with almost 11% of its needed power. The U.S. DOD is the world’s largest energy consumer. The recent solar installation announcement is in line with a Department of Defense goal to use more renewable sources of energy (renewables currently makes up about 8.5% of the total DOD energy output and procurement portfolio).

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New Budget Would Renew 1603 Treasury Grant For Solar Installations

President Obama’s latest proposed budget calls for a renewal of the 1603 Treasury Grant which expired at the end of 2011. Under the grant program businesses that install solar are allowed to take a 30% cash grant in lieu of a 30% tax credit that is currently available as an incentive to encourage solar installations. Originally enacted in 2009, the 1603 program helped to develop more than $24 billion worth of renewable energy resources according to a recent statement from the Solar Energy Industries Association. Experts say renewing the solar grant program in 2012 could lead to the creation of 37,000 more solar jobs.

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