Quantcast
Energy

Solar Industry Experiences Record-Breaking Growth

By Tom Kimbis, Solar Energy Industries Association

It seems like clockwork at this point. With each new Solar Market Insight (SMI) report, the solar industry sees more historic growth and this new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is no different.

An array of solar panels supplies energy for necessities at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Jeremiah Handeland

The solar industry installed 2,051 megawatts of PV in Q2 2016, bringing the total nationwide capacity to 31.6 gigawatts (see Figure 1.1 below) and making this quarter the best non-quarter 4 ever for the industry. There is now enough solar installed to power more than 6.2 million U.S. homes and reduce carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons each year.

A new solar installation was completed every 82 seconds in the first half of 2016, equaling more than 1,000 installs every day. This frequency is what will take the current total of 1.1 million solar systems, which took 40 years to reach, to 2 million systems by 2018.

The outlook for the rest of 2016 is just as eye-opening. The industry expects to add 13.9 GW of new capacity, which would be an 85 percent growth rate over 2015, solar's largest year ever. The U.S added 4 GW of capacity in the first half of 2016, but the industry will add nearly 10 GW in the final six months, which is 34 percent more than was installed in all of 2015, a record year.

The industry is growing faster than ever and here is what else we saw in this SMI report:

  • Solar prices fell across all market segments, with declines ranging from 2-7 percent (see Figure 2.3).
  • As a whole, the price of solar is 18 percent lower than it was one year ago and 63 percent lower than it was 5 years ago.
  • Solar represented 26 percent of all new electric generating capacity brought online in the first half of 2016.
  • There are now 1,162,000 individual solar systems installed in the U.S., including more than a million residential systems.
  • The utility-scale sector installed more than 1 GW for the third consecutive quarter and will install nearly 10 GW by the end of this year.
  • Thanks to strong growth by non-traditional markets like Texas and Utah, the residential sector experienced another record quarter, installing 650 MW.

The Q3 Solar Market Insight Report provides a clear vision of where the solar industry stands today and where we're headed in the future. By 2021, the industry is projected to nearly quadruple, while more than doubling its employment numbers and generating billions in investment. The state of solar is strong and the potential for future growth is even more encouraging.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
The two young Iowa vandals knocked over 50 hives and exposed the bees to deadly winter temperatures. Colby Stopa / Flickr

Two Boys Charged With Killing Half a Million Honeybees in Iowa

Two boys were charged with killing more than a half million bees at a honey business in Iowa last month.

"All of the beehives on the honey farm were destroyed and approximately 500,000 bees perished in the frigid temperatures," Sioux City police said in a release.

Keep reading... Show less

Are Microwaves Really as Bad for the Environment as Cars?

According to many headlines blared around the Internet this week, "microwaves are as damaging to the environment as cars." But this misleading information, based on a new study from the University of Manchester, hopefully doesn't make you feel guilty about zapping your next Hot Pocket.

The research, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found that microwave ovens across the European Union generate as much carbon dioxide as nearly 7 million cars and consume an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour of electricity per year. Okay, that sounds like a lot. But also consider that there are about 130 million microwaves in Europe and some 291 million vehicles on its roads.

Keep reading... Show less

Monsanto's Roundup Destroys Healthy Microbes in Humans and in Soils

By Julie Wilson

We're only beginning to learn the importance of healthy gut bacteria to our overall health—and the relationship between healthy soil and the human microbiome.

We know that the human microbiome, often referred to as our "second brain," plays a key role in our health, from helping us digest the food we eat, to boosting our brain function and regulating our immune systems.

Keep reading... Show less
Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke refused to meet with National Park System Advisory Board members last year, prompting most of them to quit. Gage Skidmore / Flickr

From National Parks to the EPA, Trump Administration Stiff-Arms Science Advisers

By Elliott Negin

The Trump administration's testy relationship with science reminds me of that old saying: Advice is least heeded when most needed.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Shutterstock

8 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

By Caroline Cox

What keeps you up at night? Sick kids, restless pets, the latest tragedy on the evening news, politics, wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, money troubles, job stress, and family health and wellbeing? There is no shortage of concerns that make us all toss and turn.

But what keeps the chemical industry up at night? A couple of decades ago a senior Shell executive was asked this very question. The answer? Endocrine disruption.

Keep reading... Show less
Dave Atkinson / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why We'll March Again

This Sunday marks the first anniversary of the Women's March that happened on the day after Donald Trump's inauguration—the largest protest march in our nation's history. The Sierra Club was there that day, and we'll be there this year, too—at a significant moment for women's rights and justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Nils Axel-Morner gives an interview on the fringe of a meeting in Rome in October 2017. YouTube

Climate Denial Group Linked to Trump Admin Is Funding 'Research' on Sea Levels in Questionable Journals

By Graham Readfearn

A climate science denial group with links to President Trump's administration has been funding work to sow doubt that low-lying islands in the Pacific are at risk from rising sea levels.

The two researchers being funded—one of which is a well-known climate science denier—have targeted little known "open access" journals with dubious quality controls to get their work published, DeSmog has found.

Keep reading... Show less

It's Official: 2017 Was the Hottest Year Without an El Niño

The United Nations announced Thursday that 2017 was the hottest year on record without an El Niño event kicking up global annual temperatures.

Last year's average surface temperatures—driven by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions—was 1.1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial times, putting the world on course to breach the internationally agreed "1.5°C" temperature barrier to avoid dangerous climate change set by the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!