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"We believe that the 2020s will be the decade that solar becomes the dominant new form of energy generation," SEIA CEO Abigail Ross-Hopper said in the statement, according to Reuters.
Solar energy now generates enough power to fuel more than 12 million homes, and the renewable energy source has made strides in recent years. It hit the one million mark only three years ago, a target it took the industry 40 years to achieve, CNBC reported.
California was a major player in that growth. It was responsible for 51 percent of the first million installations and 43 percent of the second. Texas, Rhode Island, Florida, Utah and Maryland were also key players, SEIA said.
California contributed less to the second million than the first because the industry is diversifying as the residential sector grows. Indeed, residential solar installations accounted for 96 percent of the total count, Union of Concerned Scientists Senior Energy Analyst John Rogers wrote in a blog post. Large installations still account for most of the total megawatts generated.
Wood Mackenzie expects the sector to continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
"According to our latest forecasts, by 2024 there will be, on average, one solar installation per minute," Wood Mackenzie Senior Solar Analyst Michelle Davis said in a statement reported by CNBC. "That's up from one installation every 10 minutes in 2010."
The story of solar in the U.S. is one of rapid growth, but also much room for more, as Reuters explained:
Solar energy has boomed in the United States over the last decade thanks to rapidly falling prices on the technology, state mandates that require utilities to source large amounts of renewable energy and a federal tax credit worth 30 percent of the cost of a system. Solar is now a $17 billion industry, SEIA said.
Yet despite this growth, solar is still a small part of the U.S. energy mix compared with fossil fuels. This year solar, wind and other renewables excluding hydropower are expected to provide 11 percent of U.S. electricity generation, compared with 37 percent for natural gas and 24 percent for coal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The contribution of non-hydropower renewables should rise to 13 percent by 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration has calculated, according to CNBC.
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Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.