Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

U.S. Solar Installations Hit 2 Million Mark

Energy
Rooftop solar systems at Googleplex, California. Steve Jurvetson / CC BY 2.0

There are now more than two million solar installations in the U.S., and that number is set to double in four years, Reuters reported Thursday.


The announcement came as a joint statement from industry group the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and research firm Wood Mackenzie.

"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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A forest fire in Yakutsk in eastern Siberia on June 2, 2020. Yevgeny Sofroneyev / TASS via Getty Images

Once thought too frozen to burn, Siberia is now on fire and spewing carbon after enduring its warmest June ever, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
The Colima fir tree's distribution has been reduced to the area surrounding the Nevado de Colima volcano. Agustín del Castillo

By Agustín del Castillo

For 20 years, the Colima fir tree (Abies colimensis) has been at the heart of many disputes to conserve the temperate forests of southern Jalisco, a state in central Mexico. Today, the future of this tree rests upon whether the area's avocado crops will advance further and whether neighboring communities will unite to protect it.

Read More Show Less
Independent environmental certifications offer a better indicator of a product's eco credentials, including labor conditions for workers involved in production. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Jeanette Cwienk

This summer's high street fashions have more in common than styles and colors. From the pink puff-sleeved dream going for just €19.99 ($22.52) at H&M, to Zara's elegant €12.95 ($14.63) halter-neck dress, clothing stores are alive with cheap organic cotton.

"Sustainable" collections with aspirational own-brand names like C&A's "Wear the change," Zara's "join life" or H&M's "CONSCIOUS" are offering cheap fashion and a clean environmental conscience. Such, at least, is the message. But is it really that simple?

Read More Show Less
The CDC is warning that people with type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, whole organ transplants, and women who are pregnant could experience more severe outcomes if they contract COVID-19. LeoPatrizi / Getty Images
Read More Show Less

More than 200 Indigenous Nations demonstrated against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Canon Ball, ND on Sept. 2, 2016. Joe Brusky / Flickr

A federal judge ruled Monday that the controversial Dakota Access pipeline must be shut down and drained of oil until a full environmental review of the project is completed.

Read More Show Less
The Yersinia pestis bacteria causes bubonic plague in animals and humans. Illustration based on light microscope image At 1000x. BSIP / UIG Via Getty Images

A herdsman in the Chinese autonomous region of Inner Mongolia was diagnosed with the bubonic plague Sunday, The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plant pathologist Carolee Bull works in her home garden in State College, Pennsylvania. Carolee Bull, CC BY-ND

By Matt Kasson, Brian Lovett and Carolee Bull

Home gardening is having a boom year across the U.S. Whether they're growing their own food in response to pandemic shortages or just looking for a diversion, numerous aspiring gardeners have constructed their first raised beds, and seeds are flying off suppliers' shelves. Now that gardens are largely planted, much of the work for the next several months revolves around keeping them healthy.

Read More Show Less