According to new analysis, the United States could witness a residential solar growth of three times its current size by 2025. This would amount to an impressive 41 gigawatts of installed solar capacity.
This new report comes by way of PV Magazine USA (via a Credit Suisse analysis).
One of the most notable items from Credit Suisse’s report is that fact that only 3 percent of the residential rooftops in America have solar panel systems. This represents an enormous untapped opportunity. The report forecasts that rooftop solar will grow to “5% by 2020 and 11% by 2025.” This is what will bring the residential sector to a total of 41 GW.
In order to get an idea of how much potential residential rooftops contain, one just needs to consider how much space is involved. According to the United States Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL), structures with less than 5,000 square feet or less of rooftop space can technically accommodate 731 GW of solar capacity. This represents about 25 percent of the country’s electricity needs. Fittingly, this is the same amount of electricity consumed by the residential sector as well.
The potential for rooftop solar is obviously much larger than just the residential sector. Of course, greater than 25 percent of the nation’s electricity needs could be met if larger buildings, carports, and other ideas are used for solar installations as well.
However, the report did not address a couple of key ideas that have been recent roadblocks to a quick adoption of solar power. These two things include major solar installers changing their sales approach and the fact that some utilities have been fighting residential solar by disapproving net metering policies.
The report is most likely based on the idea of solar power in the U.S. approaching a tipping point. The associated costs are at a point where many homeowners can realize payback periods of as little as 5 years. Also, as more homeowners go solar, their neighbors are extremely likely to as well. There are those that have not gone solar because they fear the power that their utilities have. They will go solar once affordable energy storage solutions become available. At that point, homeowners will be in control and will no longer being at the whim of net metering policies.
It’s quite possible that the numbers will end up being very close to the ones forecasted by Credit Suisse. Word is quickly spreading about how very affordable solar power now is. It won’t be long before it will seem out of place for a home to not have solar. Now that’s a future that we can all look forward to.