As of 2021, the solar industry in the United States is experiencing its biggest successes yet. The amount of solar energy produced in the US is absolutely booming — while the longer-term trajectories and trends in the solar industry only further demonstrate the immense potential for sustained growth nationwide.
Massive Growth in Past Two Decades
Since 2010, the solar industry has experienced a massive average annual growth of around 42 percent. This is mainly due to rapidly declining costs, steadily increasing demand for clean energy across both the public and private sector, and substantial federal and state tax breaks (spearheaded by the Investment Tax Credit). All of this has led to over 100 gigawatts of solar capacity nationwide — solar can now power almost 19 million homes.
Falling Prices Have Led The Way
One of the biggest drivers of demand has been rapidly falling prices. Over the course of the previous decade, the installation costs for solar panels have plummeted by over 70 percent. This has allowed the industry to install thousands of systems across the country and expand into previously untapped markets.
An average residential solar system has gone from costing $40,000 pre-incentives to just $20,000 in 2021, while current utility-scale prices have become competitive with more traditional forms of generation.
New States Fueling Growth
For the longest time, three key markets have led the way when it comes to early growth for community installations: Massachusetts, New York, and Minnesota. However, a growing number of states with community programs for solar has diversified the market — quickly setting the stage for 2021 to become another record year.
Continued growth in state community solar programs remains imperative to providing solar access to all kinds of businesses and homeowners.
Global Market Growth
The global market for solar energy is in rude health as well, with a projected growth to $223 billion by the end of 2026, at a 20.5% CAGR since 2019.
There have been plenty of positive drivers for market growth, including a substantial increase in policies designed to stamp out environmental pollution — as well as worldwide tax rebates and incentives for solar panel installations.
A surge in new rooftop installation is visible, quickly followed by increased applications for the architectural sector. Finally, the demand for solar power towers and parabolic troughs for clean electricity generation will likely result in increased demand for concentrated solar systems too.
All relevant market statistics, both in the United States and abroad, point towards the conclusion that solar energy is not just the way of the future — but an economically viable source of clean energy today.