The numbers are in from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association for 2015 and it’s official; solar had its biggest year yet.
A total of 7,286 megawatts of solar pv capacity was installed last year. For some perspective, this is enough energy to power approximately 1 million homes. There is now a total of 25 gigawatts of solar in the United States.
The president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, Rhone Resch, had this to say – “monumental year for the U.S. solar industry.” He also said we can expect to see “solar continue to reach unprecedented heights as our nation makes a shift toward a carbon-free source of energy that also serves as an economic and job-creating engine.”
As you can see from the graphic, a large majority of solar capacity was added in just the last 5 years. We’re witnessing the beginnings of a major shift to solar power generation.
2015 also marks the first year that solar installations outpaced natural-gas additions. Solar provided almost 30 percent of new electric capacity last year.
As far as the state rankings are concerned, the top four states have maintained their positions from 2014. States that have gained considerable solar ground include Utah (up 16 spots), Georgia (up 8 spots), New Hampshire (up 8 spots), Oregon (up 7 spots), and Florida (up 4 spots).
Here are some key statistics for 2015 –
- The more than 7 gigawatts from 2015 now puts the cumulative total to 25 gigawatts. There was only 2 gigawatts of installed solar in 2010.
- The residential solar market grew at a considerable 66 percent and for the first time surpassed the 2 gigawatt mark. Solar homes now amount to almost a third of the total U.S. solar industry.
- While struggling relative to residential, the non-residential segment broke the 1 gigawatt barrier.
- More than half of total installed solar pv is utility-scale. This market segment grew 6 percent last year.
It’s pretty exciting to be witnessing such a transformative event begin to transpire – the beginnings of a change in how we power society.
The big picture viewpoint is that this is still just the beginning for solar adoption in America. There’s still much work that needs to be done before solar supplies a significant amount of energy for the U.S.
However, if these growth trends continue, we’ll see solar become the single largest producer of power for the U.S. by 2050.
The price is right. The technology more than capable…. The time for solar is now.