Solar power shines in March

The good news for the solar industry keeps on comin'.

Each year, the industry has been growing -- not hard when you're so small, but still.

Now, or the first time, solar energy accounted for all new utility electricity generation capacity added to the U.S. grid in March, the Solar Energy Industries Association is announcing.  The group cites the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) March 2013 “Energy Infrastructure Update.”

More than 44 megawatts of solar electric capacity was brought online from seven projects in California, Nevada, New Jersey, Hawaii, Arizona, and North Carolina.

And with it, no new coal, no new nuclear, no new natural gas. No anything other than solar.

“This speaks to the extraordinary strides we have made in the past several years to bring down costs and ramp up deployment,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, in a press release.

 “Since 2008, the amount of solar powering U.S. homes, businesses and military bases has grown by more than 600 percent—from 1,100 megawatts to more than 7,700 megawatts today. As FERC’s report suggests, and many analysts predict, solar will grow to be our nation’s largest new source of energy over the next four years.”

New Jersey is a national leader -- albeit No. 3 lately, instead of No 2, a position it held onto for years.

Pennsylvania is far down on the list, but interesting things are happening nonetheless. In Monday's Health & Science section, I'll be writing about the new array of 11,000 solar panels -- and 14 small wind turbines -- at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles' stadium.