In a sign that the sun may finally be shining on solar energy, an administrative law judge in Minnesota has found that a plan to build distributed solar arrays and supply renewable-energy credits delivers life-cycle value superior to rival proposals to build combustion-turbine plants. He recommends the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission select the solar developer's proposal.Geronimo Energy, Edina, Minn., was the lone developer offering solar energy in response to a call from Xcel Energy Inc. for 150 MW of capacity by 2017 and possibly 500 MW by 2019. Geronimo proposed a ground-mounted single-tracker system of photovoltaic panels with 130 MW
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.