2015 a Monumental Year for U.S. Solar Market

Solar energy has captured the interest of Americans, so much so that the renewable power source grabbed a significant market share last year.

According to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar panels installed in 2015 contributed roughly 7.3 GW, the largest power output ever recorded for solar energy. The number of photovoltaic panels installed in 2015 was 17 percent more than the previous year. On top of this, solar is poised to even overtake natural gas in supplying energy for the country. Reports in 2015 estimate close to 30 percent electric capacity increase attributed to solar energy, easily beating natural gas for the first time in history.

States getting on board

The year 2015 also paved the way for more U.S. states to shift towards solar energy use. States that champion solar energy – including California, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, and North Carolina – have installed solar energy systems that represent 87 percent of all U.S. installations in the year. Meanwhile, 13 states are expected to upgrade their solar energy production by at least 100 MW each. Twenty four other U.S. states are slated to follow suit in line with their respective growths in the market last year.

Homeowners getting on board

The report also stated that more and more homeowners are going solar for their energy needs, based on findings that the number of system installations increased by 66 percent since 2014. In fact, 2015 figures showed that the residential market for solar energy has peaked at 2 GW, the highest since the time it was first monitored. As a result, the residential market has captured about 29 percent of the total solar energy needed by the U.S.

In other sectors, utility solar requirements jumped by 6 percent from 2014 to last year, tallying about 4 GW of solar PV panels installed.

These breakthrough figures for solar power use prove that this renewable energy source is expected to grow significantly in the future.

[Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr]