ShareThis Page
Solar panel installation continues to rise |

Solar panel installation continues to rise

Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Jim Vesely has 42 solar panels on his Greensburg home’s roof, which he says provide a third of his energy consumption and slash about $1,000 from his annual electricity bill.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Jim Vesely of Greensburg looks at his Enphase Enlighten Manager app on his smartphone, while showing his solar energy production at his home.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Jim Vesely of Greensburg says his solar system produces 10,650 kilowatt hours. He expects to see a return on investment in 10 to 12 years.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Jim Vesely of Greensburg believes “solar is the future,” predicting that electricity may someday be produced by individuals instead of corporate giants.

The number of solar panels installed in 2016 nearly doubled from the year before, with 22 states adding over 100 megawatts in solar power, according to preliminary data from Boston-based GTM Research and the trade group Solar Energy Industries Association.

Solar jobs increased nearly a quarter nationally last year, with over 260,000 total jobs in the industry as of November, a report released last month by the Solar Foundation showed. Pennsylvania had a 23 percent one-year rise, climbing to 3,061 solar jobs in 2016.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, said Pennsylvania produces less than 1 percent of the state’s net electricity generation. However, the Washington, D.C., group noted the number of installations is increasing.

“Solar (energy) is the choice of most customers generating power into the Pennsylvania electric grid,” EIA reported in a state profile on renewable energies.

Installing a 6-kilowatt solar panel system would cost from $12,400 to $16,600, according to EnergySage, an online solar comparison-shopping marketplace. A 10kW installation would cost $20,600 to $27,700. These figures are based on costs after a 30 percent break through the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit.

Joe Morinville, owner of Energy Independent Solutions in Pittsburgh, said he owns a 15kW solar panel system. He said the system powers his entire home’s electricity needs.

The average household in Pennsylvania consumes about 1,200 watts — or 1.2kWh — of energy per hour, according to EIA. Inside Energy estimated Pennsylvania’s average monthly electricity bill in 2016 amounted to $112.70.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.