A new report out this week from Environment America found that the U.S. could reach 10 percent solar power by 2030—and maybe even surpass that figure. The report used National Renewable Energy Laboratory data.
“When it comes to solar energy, the sky’s the limit,” said Rob Sargent, Energy Program Director for Environment America and co-author of the report. “Getting to 10 percent solar is the just the first step to a future powered entirely by pollution-free energy.”
“We can get to 10 percent solar by 2030 if we just keep our foot on the accelerator,” Sargetn said. “That’s a small fraction of what’s possible, but it will make a big difference in the quality of our lives and our children’s future.”
The organization said that even if the U.S.’ pace of solar growth slowed to 22 percent of what it is now it could still generate 10 percent of the country’s electricity by then. Reaching just 10 percent of electricity from solar would cut 280 million metric tons of carbon pollution by 2030. That’s half of the pollution reductions required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, Environment America said.
Researchers attributed much of the growth to solar’s growth in popularity over the past three years, observing that it’s grown 77 percent over that period. Part of the reason it’s grown so rapidly are the continual price declines in solar panels as well as other cost reductions with solar arrays.
The report also pointed out that the U.S. could do far more. “The U.S. is home to more than 35 million residential and commercial rooftops that could host solar panels, and it has enough technical potential to meet country’s energy needs 100 times over,’ Environment America stated.
“Given the growth of solar over the last few years, getting to 10 percent of U.S. electricity from solar should happen far sooner than 2030,” said Jigar Shah, a solar industry pioneer and President of Generate Capital.Tweet