Now 5 Million Solar Installations Across USA, 5× More Than In 2016

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

The U.S. solar power industry, particularly the rooftop arm of the industry, is going through a bit of a tough time at the moment. The country’s biggest solar market — by far — is California, and the industry there has been hit quite hard by the huge solar policy downgrade to “Net Metering 3.0.”

Nonetheless, there’s a lot to celebrate when it comes to solar power progress in the United States. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently reported that the country has passed 5 million solar installations. Five million!

Perhaps more interesting and telling — this is a 5× increase from the 1 million solar installations the country had reached in 2016. Solar power has been growing fast in the country. Can we double that 5 million in another 8 years? Can we double it quicker — by 2030, for example? SEIA seems to think that we can indeed double the number before 2030.

“Today 7% of homes in America have solar, and this number will grow to over 15% of U.S. homes by 2030,” says SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.

SEIA expects total solar installations to not only double to 10 million by 2030, but the organization also expects them to triple to 15 million by 2034. That increase from 5 million to 10 million would thus come in about 6 years while the increase from 10 million to 15 million (also a 5-million-installation increase) would take about 4 years. So, despite Net Metering 3.0, SEIA expects solar power growth to actually increase.

“Solar is quickly becoming the dominant source of electricity on the grid, allowing communities to breathe cleaner air and lead healthier lives,” Abigail Ross Hopper adds.

Another interesting stat coming from SEIA is that more than half of U.S. solar installations have been turned on in the 2020s. Less than half of our solar installations were installed and turned on before 2020.

Furthermore, more than 25% of U.S. solar installations have come online since the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) became law! That was just 20 months ago, and it’s probably the most stunning stat of the article for me.

Note that “solar installations” concerns rooftop solar systems, solar power installations on businesses, and those very large ground-mount solar systems like you can see here:

Note that the first grid-connected solar power installation in the U.S. came in 1973.

“Solar is scaling by the millions because it consistently delivers on its promise to lower electricity costs, boost community resilience, and create economic opportunities,” says Abigail Ross Hopper.

While large “utility-scale” solar power systems contribute the most to clean electricity from solar energy, the largest number of installations is clearly going to come from the small, residential solar power market. In fact, 97% of U.S. solar installations are residential solar installations.

“This sector has set annual installation records for five consecutive years and 10 of the last 12 years. Residential solar is growing at a historic rate because it is a proven investment for homeowners looking to take control of their energy costs.”

There are now 11 U.S. states and territories that have more than 100,000 solar PV systems installed. California is far and away the #1 state in the nation, and it already has more than 2 million solar installations all by itself (yes, that’s about 40% of the nation’s total). “Several other states are seeing rapid growth. Illinois was an emerging market with only 2,500 solar installations in 2017, and today, the state is home to more than 87,000 solar systems. Florida is another market experiencing substantial growth, increasing from 22,000 installations in 2017 to 235,000 installations today.”

Despite decades-long efforts from the utility industry and fossil fuel industries to write off, slow, and ignore the transition to solar power, the market continues to bloom. Solar power is one of the core ways we put electricity into the grid now, and the story should only get better in the coming years.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica.TV Videos



CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.