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Energy & Infrastructure

Solar summer is here

Tom Droege

Summer brings backyard cookouts, swimming and – of course – lots of sunshine. That’s good for solar energy production, which has a lot to do with the Earth’s position in relation to the sun at any given time of year or day, according to Energy.gov.

The tilt of the Earth beginning in spring results in longer days in the Northern Hemisphere through the summer months. The sun also starts tracking more directly overhead during the summer, which maximizes the sun’s energy hitting the solar panels.

Plenty of sunshine was the most important factor when Williams started identifying locations along its operations for solar installations. Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia are on Williams’ list for solar. Colorado is among the sunniest with an average of 300 sunny days a year.

Since announcing our solar initiative last year, Williams has added more projects and now has a total of 16 opportunities that should start operating beginning in 2023. The solar power installations will provide electricity to the company’s adjacent facilities and build on our natural gas-focused strategy.

Natural gas is key to adding more renewable energy to the power grid in large volumes. It is a clean, affordable fuel that can quickly provide power when renewable energy sources are producing less due to the variability of sunlight and wind.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that the share of solar and wind in the U.S. electricity generation mix will increase from 21% in 2020 to 42% in 2050.