That drew a crowd. But regular solar-energy projects? Not so much.
"You don't see many solar dedications now, and it's for a good reason: It's because solar is becoming more mainstream," said
That's true in an increasing number of states, including
Big-box retailers in particular are hitting the accelerator on solar, putting their expansive roofs to work. Manufacturers, grocery stores and a variety of other businesses are tapping the electricity-generating potential of the sun, too.
Commercial-scale solar projects in
Another big increase is coming. As part of its acquisition of
While businesses are happy to get credit for environmental friendliness, advocates say that's not the only reason -- or even the main one -- now driving solar.
"I think the most interesting aspect of this story is that you're seeing more and more companies turn to solar as a smart economic investment," said
Firms partly want to hedge against rising energy prices, Resch said. But plummeting installation costs -- thanks to technological advances and efficiency improvements that come with greater scale -- are another big reason. The average photovoltaic system costs commercial users about
And unlike the early years, companies don't have to shell out up-front. They can pay monthly for the energy with a long-term power purchase agreement and let a solar company or a third party own and maintain the system.
"You're committed, don't get me wrong, but it's basically like paying your monthly electric bill," said
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