A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy finding that U.S. solar power capacity will have nearly tripled in less than three years by 2017 is a milestone not only as a technology whose time has come but also as a major shift where the embrace of solar power is a result not just of environmental principle but of practical necessity. Ten percent of total U.S. energy consumption comes from renewables, and solar currently makes up 6 percent of that segment, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and is among the fastest-growing sources of energy. Once a cottage industry of small-scale producers, the solar energy landscape has grown and seen a number of major projects go online in recent years.
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