Q&A: Renewable Energy
What should we expect for the future of solar energy?
The solar energy market is highly successful in the United States, with New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts ranking amongst the top 10 in Solar Photovoltaic (PV) installations. In addition to the installations, some key statistics on the market include:
- In 2021, the U.S. installed 23.6 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV to reach 121.4 GW of total installed capacity – enough to power 23.3 million homes
- Solar power accounted for 4% of U.S. electricity generation from all sources in 2021
- The price of solar energy has fallen over 70% since 2010 while solar panel efficiency has increased 40% on high-efficiency panels
- The three sectors of solar energy – Residential PV, Non-Residential PV, and Utility PV – will double in the next five years
- Significant investments have been made in response to ongoing research from pilot projects involving solar electric power production, which has led to an increase in the installations of battery systems with solar electric arrays (especially in remote locations)
While solar energy is a clean energy source with many environmental benefits, it must be properly sited to ensure the associated benefits are intact and additional environmental harm is not introduced as a result.
Langan provides an array of environmental services to help clients determine the suitability of sites for solar development, including site selection/analysis, solar and viewshed analysis, and site selection ranking methodology. Once the site is analyzed and selected, Langan uses the base map to prepare a conceptual solar array layout. The layout identifies DC & AC (or Direct Current & Alternating Current) capacity; panel racking alternatives; and the placement of inverters, switchgear, transformers, interconnection point, and connection to the electric distribution system. We also evaluate the solar panel racking, taking into account the anticipated settlement, loading needs of the racking and panels, and subsurface conditions present at the site. Once the evaluation is complete, we prepare a Licensing & Permitting Matrix prior to obtaining the state and local licenses and permits necessary to meet regulatory requirements.
While Langan’s experience in the renewable energy market spans countless locations, sources, and challenges, one goal remains at the forefront of each project: leading the way toward a brighter, more sustainable future.