A recent solar industry report predicts that there will be 1 million American residences with a solar panel system on their rooftops by February of 2016. The report, from EnergySage, details the amazing growth of solar in the United States over the past decade.
There were only approximately 30,000 homes that were utilizing solar power in 2006. This relatively low number is not surprising considering the fact that the cost of solar back then was a considerable $9 per watt. Prices are now much closer to $3 per watt with an affordable installer.
The solar power industry is now worth $7 billion and growing. The word is quickly spreading about this now very cost effective and emission free energy source. In fact, it is estimated that there are currently about 6 million people shopping for solar. More than 300,000 will eventually purchase a solar panel system this year.
This growth trend will continue in the coming years. It’s predicted that there will be at least 3.8 million homes that have gone solar by the year 2020. We could easily see much more than 4 million if growth rates continue.
Growth rates are also spurred by the very many ways that a solar power system can be financed. Expensive, long term leases can now be avoided now that solar panels systems are viewed as low risk for banks and other lending institutions. Government sponsored green energy loan programs are now also widely available. There are now no more concerns about having to come up with the cost of a system upfront. A very high percentage of homeowners now choose to acquire a loan rather than pay cash or sign up for a lease.
It’s fair to say that the 1 million home mark is just the beginning for residential solar power. The reason for this is that solar still only provides a very small percentage of the country’s energy usage. However, there is nothing to stop solar from eventually becoming a major source of energy for the country. In fact, it the current trends continue, this is exactly what will happen.
So here’s to an early 1 million solar homes celebration. We’ll see the next million after that before too long.