The United States solar industry recently hit a major milestone. There are now more than 1 million solar panel installations across the nation.
Dan Whitten, V.P. of the Solar Energy Industries Association, stated that “It took us 40 years to get to 1 million installations, and it will take us only two years to get to 2 million. This is a time to mark when the solar industry started to accelerate at warp speed.” It is expected that solar will make up 3 percent of the nation’s electric production by 2020.
The combination of tax credits and reductions in the price of solar are the two main factors driving this incredible growth. Likely increases in the price of natural gas will be yet another factor that will spur an increase in the adoption of solar power.
Of course, net metering has much to do with the astonishing growth of solar as well. If homeowners did not get the full value of their solar panel system production, then many would not be as likely to go solar in the first place. The upcoming solar energy storage boom will help any current concerns with the availability of net metering. This will put much more power and control into the hands of the average solar power consumer.
Researchers at SEIA and GTM Research estimate that the 1 millionth install happened early March, 2016. While a high majority of those installs were residential, utility scale solar will continue to provide the highest total solar production in the near term.
There’s no question that this considerable solar trend will continue in the coming years. Solar can and will become much more than 3 percent (by 2020) of the nation’s power production.
As previously mentioned, energy storage will be key in driving further solar power growth. The intermittent nature of solar requires that storage play an increasingly larger role. The good news is that the cost of energy storage will continue to fall significantly in the coming years.
So here’s to the first million solar installations! It’s great to know that the next million is right around the corner.