While solar industry growth has slowed with the economy as a whole, it"s still gaining ground through corporate investment, writes Green Energy News. Communications company Cox Enterprises just finished its 100-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) solar system at the company"s Manheim DRIVE facility in Stockbridge, Georgia. It"s now the biggest solar array hooked up to Georgia Power"s transmission lines. And it’s companies like Cox that are driving the continued expansion of the solar industry, following their own internal protocol to (in this case) cut the company"s greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2017.
Wal-Mart, too, is continuing its solar program, and plans to double the size of its solar initiative over the next year and a half. In April 2009, Wal-Mart installed solar arrays at 18 of its stores, and now it"s working with BP Solar to install 10 to 20 PV systems on California store and distribution center rooftops. The retail giant is using an innovative power purchase agreement arrangement in which BP Solar assumes the upfront cost of installation and the retailer pays a set monthly fee that"s lower than traditional electricity rates. And now electric company Exelon and solar company SunPower have teamed up to develop the nation"s largest urban solar power plant—a $60 million, 10-megawatt solar facility spread out over 39 acres of former industrial land on the South Side of Chicago. They"re waiting for a federal loan guarantee as part of the stimulus package, and believe it will come.