Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and energy research firm Wood Mackenzie have pegged the United State’s total solar installations at more than 2 million.
The report added that the electricity produced is enough to light up 12 million homes in the U.S. The report has forecast that the installations would reach the 4 million mark by 2023.
“We believe that the 2020s will be the decade that solar becomes the dominant new form of energy generation,” SEIA CEO Abigail Ross-Hopper said in the statement.
The rise of solar energy in the United States over the last decade is attributable to rapidly falling prices on the technology, state mandates that require utilities to source large amounts of renewable energy, and a federal tax credit worth 30% of the cost of a system. Solar is now a $17 billion industry, SEIA has said.
Despite this growth feat, solar is still a small part of the U.S. energy mix compared with fossil fuels. This year, solar, wind and other renewables excluding hydropower are expected to provide 11% of U.S. electricity generation, compared with 37 % for natural gas and 24% for coal, according to data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
California accounted for 43% of the second million installations, with Texas, Utah, Florida, Rhode Island, and Maryland being the other states where solar has grown rapidly over the last three years , SEIA said, while Wood Mackenzie added there would be one solar energy system installed per minute in the United States by 2024.
India was the third largest solar market behind China and the United States with 8.3 GW of solar PV capacity installed in 2018, with Japan and Germany ranked fourth and fifth largest solar markets in the world. The United States was the second largest market with 10.6 GW of solar PV capacity addition in 2018, according to SEIA/Wood Mackenzie, Mercom had reported.
In total, the top five countries – China, the United States, India, Japan, and Germany – are expected to account for 73 GW of solar PV capacity. Barring a significant policy turnaround in one of these five markets, they could end up in the same order next year.
The United States installed more than double compared India’s solar PV capacity addition in Q4 2018 and exceeded India’s total capacity addition for the year. However, by the end of the third quarter, India had installed more solar PV than the United States. It was primarily because of the rapid pace of installations recorded in the first quarter of 2018 when India had installed over 3 GW capacity.
According to a report by SEIA, in Q4 2018, the United States installed 4.2 GW of solar PV, which is a 139 percent increase from Q3 2018 and a 4 percent increase from Q4 2017.
Soumik is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, Soumik was a correspondent for UNI, New Delhi covering the Northeast region for seven years. He has also worked as an Asia Correspondent for Washington DC-based Hundred Reporters. He has contributed as a freelancer to several national and international digital publications with a focus on data-based investigative stories on environmental corruption, hydro power projects, energy transition and the circular economy. Soumik is an Economics graduate from Scottish Church College, Calcutta University.