Solar power, with help from the solar industry, made an appearance in the annual “State of American Energy Report” from no less than the American Petroleum Institute (API). The report shows that even the dinosaurs of energy are increasingly aware of solar’s influx in the energy industry, and they don’t see it as just a threat.
API President Jack Gerard even had some good things to say about renewable energy in the report, observing that the U.S. is a new era in domestic energy abundance characterized by rising use of renewable energy—as well as increased oil and natural gas production. “It is strengthening our economic outlook and enabling America to emerge as a global energy superpower. It’s a remarkable transformation that has been made possible because America is uniquely rich in energy resources, a talented workforce and cutting-edge energy technologies."
“When looking at America’s energy future, solar can be a real game changer, providing more and more homes, businesses, schools and government entities across the United States with clean, reliable and affordable electricity, while also helping states to meet proposed new obligations under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act,” the report stated.
The report also noted that solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America. “Today, the U.S. has an estimated 20.2 GW of installed solar capacity, enough to effectively power nearly 4 million homes in the United States—or every single home in a state the size of Massachusetts or New Jersey—with another 20 GW in the pipeline for 2015-16.”
“Last year, solar installations were 70 times higher than they were in 2006—and today there’s nearly 30 times more solar capacity online nationwide,” said Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch. SEIA worked with API on the report. “We’ve gone from being an $800 million industry in 2006 to a $15 billion industry today.”
“Solar energy is now more affordable than ever. According to SEIA/GTM Research, national blended average system prices have dropped 53 percent since 2010. Today, the solar industry employs 143,000 Americans and pumps more than $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy,” The report stated. “This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Energy Standards (RES).”
“The price to install a solar rooftop system has been cut in half, while utility systems have dropped by 70 percent. It took the U.S. solar industry 40 years to install the first 20 GW of solar,” Resch added. “Now, we’re going to install the next 20 GW in the next two years. In fact, during every single week of 2015, we’re going to install more capacity than what we did during the entire year in 2006. Any way you look at it, solar energy is paying huge dividends for the economy, our environment and America’s future.”
The report also predicted strong growth in all sectors of the U.S. solar industry for at least the next two years, according to SEIA.Tweet