US Solar Industry Reaches Record Heights

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2020 was a surprisingly good year for solar power.

As time passes and climate change becomes an increasingly vital concern, calls have been increasing for increased investments into renewable energy sources. One of the unquestioned leaders of renewable power is, of course, solar power, and despite the hardships of 2020 and the pandemic, the past year was actually surprisingly productive for the United States solar industry.

According to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenize, solar installations increased by 43% in 2020, setting a new energy-generation record of 19.2 new gigawatts of electricity. Almost half of that came about in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, the largest increase in solar power generation since 2015. Currently, the entire American solar grid can generate about 97.2 gigawatts of power, enough electricity to power around 17.7 million homes.

While Q2 slowed things down due to the onset of the pandemic, as more people were confined to their homes, a greater interest in home improvement projects bloomed, prompting numerous homes to invest in and construct their own solar batteries. This led to a surge in new solar infrastructure in the second half of the fiscal year. The largest advancements arose in California, Florida, and Texas, with Virginia and North Carolina not far behind.

“Residential solar sales continue to exceed expectations as loan providers roll out attractive products, interest in home improvement surges, and customers suffering through power outages from extreme weather events seek energy resilience,” the report said.

Based on the SEIA and Wood Mackenzie’s analysis, the United States is on track to quadruple its current solar power infrastructure by the year 2030. This growth is expected to include both private and utility sectors as pushes for reduced carbon footprints drive interest further.

“Compelling economics for distributed and utility-scale solar along with decarbonization commitments from numerous stakeholders will result in a landmark installation rate of over 50 GWdc by the end of the decade,” Wood Mackenzie’s Davis added.

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