The U.S. is now home to more than 2 million solar PV installations, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The mark comes just three years after the industry completed its 1 millionth installation, a feat that took 40 years to accomplish.
“The rapid growth in the solar industry has completely reshaped the energy conversation in this country,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA president and CEO. “This $17 billion industry is on track to double again in five years, and we believe that the 2020s will be the decade that solar becomes the dominant new form of energy generation.”
Wood Mackenzie forecasts that there will be 3 million installations in 2021 and 4 million in 2023, continuing the swift rise of solar.
California represented 51% of the first million installations but accounted for 43% of the second million. This is in large part due to a growing residential sector that is rapidly diversifying across state markets. South Carolina, for instance, was an emerging market in 2016 with 1,160 cumulative installations. Today, the state is home to more than 18,000 solar systems and is expected to add 22,000 systems over the next five years.
Other fast-growing states over the last three years include Texas, Utah, Florida, Rhode Island, and Maryland, which combined have grown from around 50,000 installations to more than 200,000. Looking ahead, Illinois will see cumulative installations increase from 4,000 today to nearly 100,000 by 2024. While California will continue to lead the nation in installations, the remaining top 10 state markets will see faster growth. Nearly 750,000 installations are expected in those markets over the next 5 years, compared to 500,000 installations over the last 5 years.
“According to our latest forecasts, by 2024, there will be on average, 1 solar installation per minute,” said Michelle Davis, Senior Solar Analyst with Wood Mackenzie. “That’s up from one installation every 10 minutes in 2010.”
“Our nation is harnessing homegrown sunshine at scale to lower electric bills, create jobs, reduce harmful pollution, and build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren," said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar. "This remarkable progress is a true American success story made possible by customers, workers, policymakers, advocates and innovators. It shows us both what's possible and how much farther we can go when it comes to an urgent transition to clean energy."
Today, the 2 million residential, commercial and utility-scale solar installations produce enough electricity each year to power more than 12 million American homes. By 2024, 2.5% of all U.S. homes will have a solar installation. The total amount of solar generating capacity that goes along with the 2 million solar installations has now eclipsed 70 gigawatts.