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Maine Solar PV Growing in Popularity… Why?

QUICK NEWS: Solar PV is blowing up in Maine. A recent piece in Maine’s Portland Press Herald gives some explanation as to why, as does the video above.

ARUNDEL – On the lawn behind the Solar Market offices here, 144 solar-electric panels are mounted across a 100-foot-long run of wooden racks. No surprise, really, to see a photovoltaic system outside a company that sells the hardware

But this set-up is way larger than needed to run lights and appliances. And therein lies the surprise: These solar panels generated enough power last winter to supply nearly 70 percent of the building’s warmth — with electric heat.

The falling price of photovoltaic panels, along with the advent of special heat pumps and super insulation, is creating an opportunity in Maine that energy experts could hardly imagine a few years ago. Now some of the state’s leading solar installers, including Solar Market, have begun installing so-called PV panels on homes and businesses to harvest sunshine for baseboard heaters.

The new economics of PV panels also has some companies moving away from promoting solar-thermal collectors designed to heat water, a mainstay of the business in Maine for 30 years.

PV module prices are down 50 percent in the past three years; they’ve fallen by roughly one-third in the past 12 months. Manufacturing growth in China, among other factors, has led to overcapacity and financial losses. Trade publications predict that competition will continue to drive down prices next year, as the industry struggles to consolidate and match supply with demand.

Maine solar installers are taking advantage of this environment, as well as state and federal laws that encourage the use of renewable energy. A visit to Solar Market’s 3,500-square-foot office shows one way to do it.

This is not unique to Maine, as solar has been blowing up across the country. But this is a fun micro-example of what’s going on. More on the Maine story here: Solar rising with tax credits, lower costs.

h/t Climate Denial Crock of the Week

 
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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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