In a milestone, the US exceeds 5 million solar installations

The US has now officially surpassed 5 million solar installations, a significant landmark in its shift toward clean energy, according to data released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.

The 5 million milestone comes just eight years after the US achieved its first million in 2016 – a stark contrast to the four decades it took to reach that initial milestone since the first grid-connected solar project in 1973.

Since the beginning of 2020, more than half of all US solar installations have come online, and over 25% have been activated since the Inflation Reduction Act became law 20 months ago. Solar arrays have been installed on homes and businesses and as utility-scale solar farms. The US solar market was valued at $51 billion in 2023.

SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said, “Today, 7% of homes in America have solar, and this number will grow to over 15% of US homes by 2030. Solar is quickly becoming the dominant source of electricity on the grid, allowing communities to breathe cleaner air and lead healthier lives.”

Even with changes in state policies, market trends indicate robust growth in solar installations across the US. According to SEIA forecasts, the number of solar installations is expected to double to 10 million by 2030 and triple to 15 million by 2034.

The residential sector represents 97% of all US solar installations. This sector has consistently set new records for annual installations over the past several years, achieving new highs for five straight years and in 10 out of the last 12 years. The significant growth in residential solar can be attributed to its proven value as an investment for homeowners who wish to manage their energy costs more effectively.

California is the frontrunner with 2 million solar installations, though recent state policies have significantly damaged its rooftop solar market. Meanwhile, other states are experiencing rapid growth. For example, Illinois, which had only 2,500 solar installations in 2017, now boasts over 87,000. Similarly, Florida has seen its solar installations surge from 22,000 in 2017 to 235,000 today.

By 2030, 22 states or territories are anticipated to surpass 100,000 solar installations. The US has enough solar installed to cover every residential rooftop in the Four Corners states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Read more: Check out the ‘world’s first’ DC-to-DC solar-powered EV charger


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