In the last decade, thanks to new federal and state policies, solar energy has experienced an average annual growth rate of 24%. New policies have assisted with this rapid growth, such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), landmark federal legislation that increased the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) added an incentive for energy storage, and encouraged domestic manufacturing. In addition, there has been a rapid decline in costs and an increase in demand for solar in both the private and public sectors. Solar has become both an economic engine and a force for clean energy in the US, showing great strides towards a fully renewable future.
We have compiled a few reasons to remain hopeful that renewable energy will continue to grow and have lasting effects on climate change.
Growth of The Solar Industry
- 263,883 people are currently employed by the renewable industry.
- In the first half of 2023 solar accounted for 45% of new generating capacity.
- There is enough solar installed in the US to power 27 million households.
- 15% of US homes will have a solar PV system by 2030.
Energy storage use is on the rise in renewable energy. After years of waiting for energy storage projects to be financially viable, with the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022, there is an investment tax credit available for standalone energy storage.
- As of 2022, 7.8 GW of utility-scale battery storage was operating in the United States. From 2023 to 2025, another 20.8 GW of battery storage capacity is expected to be added.
- With the passing of IRA, standalone battery installations are eligible for the same 30% investment tax credit as solar projects.
According to the SEIA/Wood Mackenzie Solar Market Insight Report Q3 2023
- In Q2 2023, the US solar market installed 5.6 GWdc of capacity, a 20% increase from Q2 2022.
- In the year since the IRA passed, module manufacturers have announced approximately three dozen capacity additions. If all these plans materialize, the US (including Puerto Rico) will increase its total module manufacturing capacity by a significant order of magnitude by 2026 – from 10.6 GW to 108.5 GW.
- A record 20 GWdc will be installed over the second half of the year, surpassing every annual total prior to 2021.
As of 2023, 60% of new electricity-generation is from renewable sources. Solar has remained steady since 2021, always sitting above 40% of new electricity generation. This growth has occurred despite persistent challenges for the utility-scale segment, including supply chain constraints, tight labor availability and uncertainty surrounding various IRA requirements. There is already nearly 12 GWdc of capacity online this year.
States are taking many steps to accelerate their clean energy transition, from passing legislation to encourage solar development through zoning amendments, to Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and carbon free/ GHG reductions statewide.
These goals range in timing for implementation and are laid out below.
- District of Columbia – 100% renewable energy by 2032
- Rhode Island – 100% renewable energy electricity by 2033
- New Jersey – 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035
- Connecticut – 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040
- Minnesota – 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040
- New York – 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040
- California – 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045
- Hawaii – 100% renewable energy by 2045 through the
- Nebraska – Net-zero carbon emissions from generation resources by 2050 for Nebraska Public Power District and Omaha Public Power District; 2040 for Lincoln Electric System
- New Mexico – 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045
- Virginia – 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045 for Dominion Energy and 2050 for Appalachian Power Company
- Washington – 100% zero-emissions electricity by 2045
- Colorado – 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050 for Xcel Energy
- Illinois – 100% clean energy by 2050
- Maine 100% clean energy by 2050
- Nevada – 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050
- North Carolina – Carbon neutrality in the electricity sector by 2050
- Puerto Rico – 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2050
It is no surprise that the solar industry has made substantial impact on the climate and the economy. With the introduction of many different RPS goals the future is bright for the renewable energy industry. We can only hope that this next decade shows the same promise and improvements. Companies like Empower Energies are proud to be a part of this change and provide a better future.