It has been inspiring and exciting to research the stories about alternative energy and energy conservation for this week’s issue of The Valley Reporter.
It’s inspiring that homeowners, home builders and back to the landers are making energy conservation and solar production a priority. We are lucky as a state that we have such an array of conservation programs available to us.
Technology continues to improve how we insulate our homes and how we heat them as well as our hot water. Our appliances are more efficient every year – including clothes dryers that use heat pumps to do their job. Windows are better than ever and conservation capabilities continue to improve.
Consider these numbers:
As a state we have more solar panels per capita than sunny Florida – which is inexplicable and sadly true. If cooler and often cloudy Vermont can produce 5.5 percent of its electricity strictly from solar (in 2015), imagine what could be produced nationally in the Southeast and Southwest.
In 2014, 27 percent of Vermont’s net electricity generation was produced by renewable energy, including hydroelectric, biomass, wind and solar resources.
In 2015 solar energy represented 40 percent of all new electric generating capacity.
In 2014, Vermont installed 38 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking it 18th nationally.
The 87 MW of solar energy currently installed in Vermont ranks the state 22nd in the country in installed solar capacity.
There is enough solar energy installed in Vermont to power 15,200 homes.
And keep in mind that the renewable energy industry in Vermont is currently the fastest growing job market in the state.
As a state, Vermont has set an impressive goal of becoming 90 percent renewable by 2050.
While the policies in Washington, DC, are discouraging right now, we can take heart that here at home people are making an effort to reduce their energy use and their carbon footprint.