It seems like everyone I know is off to Italy this summer to enjoy its pastoral beauty, Slow Food and romantic gondola rides.  Who doesn’t love Italy–the language, the food, the mountains, the 720 megawatts of solar power installed last year.

Italy has surpassed the United States to become the largest residential solar market in the world (next to Germany).  With only one-fifth the population of the United States, Italy owes its solar joyride to the implementation of a Feed-in-Tariff in 2007 (heads up Los Angeles, this could be you)!

But you need not travel all the way to Italy to gawk in awe at all those gleaming rooftop solar arrays and snow-capped mountains.  Look no further than Colorado (gondola rides and Slow Food not included),  which passed a law earlier this year requiring the state to generate 30% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, a standard second only to California’s target of 33% by 2020.  Because of this law, the state anticipates 100,000 new rooftop solar panels by 2020.  With the state’s two biggest utilities offering big solar rebates and the sun shining bright 300 days a year, Colorado’s Solar Century has begun.  Now all Colorado and the rest of the United States needs is a feed-in-tariff, and we’ll be back to Number 1 in short order.

–Erica Etelson

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.