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PV in Delaware

Fieldhouse at the University of Delaware

The State of Delaware has regulations which are very supportive of PV. For example, Delaware was one of the early adopters of 'net metering' which has been in place since 1999. Almost 40 states now have net-metering. This allows PV system owners to get full credit on their electric bill for any power they produce. Any energy that they produce in excess of what they are using get put onto the grid, and their meter runs backwards, crediting them for every kW-hr they make. At the end of the month, their electric bill reflects the net difference between the energy they used from the grid and the solar energy they produced.

In 2010, the Governor signed legislation requiring Delaware to obtain 25% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025. A minimum of 3.5% must be from solar PV arrays within the state. This will require about 350 MW of PV to be installed within the State. As of 2010, Delaware has over 800 PV systems installed, adding up to 9 MW of grid connected PV power. The largest is a 1.2 MW array in Milford in Kent County. But this total will double with the completion in 2011 of the 10 MW Dover Solar Park project.

Another very supportive policy has been the rebates which are administered through the Green Energy Program Rebates which the DE Energy Office. As originally established, the rebate was 50% of the installed cost for a qualifying PV or solar thermal. Due to the popularity of the program after a few years, and the reduction in installed system costs, the rebate has been reduced to 30%. A list of currently approved installers, incentives, and requirements can be found on the Green Energy Program website http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/energy/services/Pages/GreenEnergyProgram.aspx

A coalition of solar installers, manufacturers, homeowners and advocates formed in 2009 called the Delaware Solar Energy Coalition (DSEC). Their mission is "to protect and expand the economic, employment, environmental, and energy security benefits the distributed solar generation industry provides to individuals and businesses in Delaware." Their website is http://www.delsec.org/

Delaware receives plentiful sunlight, an average of 4.6 kW-hrs per square meter per day. Thus, a typical system in Delaware produces between 1100 and 1300 kWhrs of energy per year for every 1 kW of installed array power. It might surprise some people that a solar array in Delaware will produce only 25% less annual energy compared to a similar array in California or Florida.