Clean energy is hot.
A groundswell of support for renewable power has sprung up around the world over the past several years, with governments, utilities and corporations racing to deploy or purchase green electricity.
Solar power is among the technologies leading the energy market in new deployments. In the U.S. last year, 36% of all new electric capacity came from solar, and the cost to deploy it has dropped more than 63% since 2010. In many U.S. states and in nations around the world, it’s as cheap to use solar power as it is to buy electricity generated through coal-fired power plants.
Corporations are taking note. For example, Apple last month announced it would invest close to $1 billion in a solar power plant being built by First Solar in California; the move rocketed Apple past Walmart as the largest corporate user of solar power. Venture capitalists, too, are investing in renewables to the tune of $310 billion last year. Put simply, solar power is no longer just the bastion of crunchy granola types and companies hoping to improve their public image.