File this one under “stick it where the sun don’t shine,” or at least where it don’t shine so much. While California can conjure up images of sunny beaches, Death Valley, and cloudless days, it is New Jersey that is really trying to harness the sun’s power so far this year. For the 1st quarter of 2012, PV Magazine reports that New Jersey has come in ahead of California in US solar power installations.
New Jersey installed 173.8 MW of solar power in the first three months of the year, compared to California’s 148.4 MW. In both states commercial installations form the overwhelming majority of new solar power. The rest of the top five includes Arizona, Massachusetts, and Tennessee, though these states had only minimal amounts of installations compared to the top two. 506 MW of solar photovoltaic power was installed across the United States in the three months of the year, an increase of 85% over the same period in 2011. All this wouldn’t happen without falling prices and a Federal Investment Tax Credit. Prices should continue to fall as technology and manufacturing techniques improve, making harvesting the sun’s rays increasingly competitive with traditional energy sources.