Nation’s Largest Coal Producing State Warming to Idea of Solar Energy

Holly Copeland in front of her family's home and their newly-installed solar array. Creative Energies.

Creative Energie

Holly Copeland in front of her family's home and their newly-installed solar array. Creative Energies.

With its big blue skies and high altitude, Wyoming’s solar potential is among the best in the nation. But even as residential rooftop solar has boomed recently in Colorado and other states like California and New Jersey, it’s barely made any inroads in the state.

Economics and politics both play a role, but with the price of photovoltaics continuing to drop, some people are starting to ask whether momentum is building for solar in the nation’s largest coal-producing state.

“We have an amazing solar resource,” said Milton Geiger, the energy extension coordinator at the University of Wyoming. “Riverton has a better solar resource than Miami.”

Even so, fewer than 1 in 1,000 Wyoming households have rooftop solar installations, compared to 1 in 100 in Colorado. Geiger says the biggest reason has to do with how Wyoming currently get its electricity.

“(Solar is) trying to replace something that’s relatively inexpensive,” Geiger said, referring to coal, which accounts for around 90 percent of the state’s power. Keep reading here.

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