Renewable Energy in Delaware [2023 Guide]
Nov 1, 2023
Delaware's move towards a more renewable energy sector has been well underway since the late 90s. Today, renewable energy has become a growing portion of Delaware's overall energy portfolio, with solar, wind and other forms of clean power becoming increasingly available throughout the state. In 2023 and the years ahead, Delaware is poised to establish itself as a leader in renewable energy, with ambitious plans to increase its reliance on clean sources of power.
Here's everything Delaware residents need to know.
Benefits of Renewable Energy in Delaware
Delaware's Green Energy Program offers incentives and grants to encourage the use of renewable energy. By mandating that electricity suppliers obtain a portion of their energy from solar generators, and incentivizing solar electricity creation, the Delaware Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) programs promote sustainable development and reduce reliance on fossil fuels in Delaware.
Furthermore, Delaware's commitment to renewable energy is creating a cleaner, greener, and more economically-prosperous state, with more than 5,000 renewable energy systems installed throughout the state.
The success of the Green Energy Program has contributed to Delaware's solar capacity increasing from 8.6 megawatts in 2010 to 95 megawatts as of April 2018. This 1000+% increase in renewable energy capacity is also leading to increased job opportunities in the renewable energy industry. The industry is growing at a rapid pace, providing more than twice the number of jobs as the coal industry, thereby creating economic prosperity for the state.
The Green Energy Program's contributions towards renewable energy have also made a positive impact on the environment, making Delaware a role model for other states looking to transition to renewable energy sources. The program has funded more than 4,300 projects and provided over $55 million in grants since its inception in 1999. As a result, Delaware has become a shining example of the economic and environmental benefits of switching to renewable energy.
Delaware Energy Mix: How Much Is Renewable?
Despite Delaware's push towards renewable energy, the state is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. As of 2021, clean energy sources like wind and solar account for 1% of Delaware's net electricity generation, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Meanwhile, natural gas makes up the vast majority of the state's energy generation, representing a whopping 87% of Delaware's net electricity generation, followed by coal at 6%.
Solar Energy in Delaware
Delaware's solar energy industry is growing quickly, with 175 megawatts of solar installed throughout the state, which is enough to power almost 30,000 homes. Over the last 10 years, solar prices have dropped by 53%, indicating that solar energy is becoming more affordable and accessible to the general public.
Moreover, the state has ambitious plans for the future, with a projected 650+ megawatts of solar to be installed over the next 5 years. Delaware's net metering law supports third-party solar financing and shared solar, facilitating the growth of the distributed solar market.
Delaware boasts several notable solar installations, including the Milford Solar Farm, Amazon's PHL7 project in Middletown, and Dover Sun Park. There are also numerous incentives and programs available to Delaware residents who are interested in adopting solar energy.
Wind Energy and Other Renewable Energy Sources in Delaware
Delaware's wind energy resources are relatively limited, with most onshore wind energy resources located along the state's shorelines. In 2010, the University of Delaware installed the state's first and only onshore utility-scale wind facility, a 2-megawatt wind turbine located in Lewes on the Delaware Bay. The state is also home to the Skipjack Wind project, a wind farm in development in federal waters about 19 miles from the southern Delaware Atlantic coast.
Two utility-scale biomass power plants in Delaware utilize biomass, in the form of landfill gas, to generate energy. As of 2021, a limited amount of households directly utilize renewable energy sources for their home heating needs. Nearly 1% of these households depend on wood as their heating source, while approximately 0.2% harness solar thermal energy for this purpose. However, Delaware does not have any utility-scale hydroelectric generation.
Delaware Renewable Energy Goals
Delaware has set an ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that mandates that 40% of electricity sales must come from renewable sources by 2035, including a target of 10% from solar energy. The RPS was initially expanded in 2010 to a target of 25% by 2025, with at least 3.5% of electricity sales generated from solar energy. The state's recent decision to further expand the RPS in 2021 is an indication of its commitment to renewable energy, requiring an even more significant increase to 40% of electricity sales from renewable sources by 2035, with a target of 10% from solar energy.
Average Electric Bill in Delaware
As of October 2023, Delaware residents and businesses can expect to pay an average monthly electric bill of $114, with the average electric rate in the state being 13 ¢/kWh.
Delaware Renewable Energy Incentives
Delaware offers various incentives and programs to encourage the use of renewable energy systems. Grants are available for qualifying renewable energy systems installed in the state, providing customers with additional financial support to make the switch to clean energy.
For low- to moderate-income households, the State of Delaware's Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Program provides additional support, potentially offering free or reduced cost solar installations. This program is designed to ensure that clean energy is accessible to all Delaware residents, regardless of their income.
How You Can Choose Renewable Energy in Delaware
CleanChoice Energy is a renewable energy supplier offering services to customers in Delaware. By choosing CleanChoice Energy as their electricity supplier, customers in Delmarva territories in Delaware can play a role in reducing our collective dependence on traditional, non-renewable energy sources. CleanChoice Energy is dedicated to making the switch to clean, pollution-free energy easy and accessible for customers in Delaware. Learn more about how easy it is to choose cleaner energy today and be a part of Delaware's green revolution.
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¹Typical default utility energy mix for customers in DE. Source: www.eia.gov, 2021 "Electric power industry generation by primary energy source." CleanChoice Energy has high standards for defining "clean" energy. While nuclear and hydro do not emit greenhouse gasses, generation from these sources have other negative environmental consequences.