Analysis from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says 20 GW of solar capacity were installed in the U.S. by the end of 2014, compared with 500 MW of total capacity in 2004.
According to SEIA, 97% of that capacity was added after the passage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC).
Over the same time period, the cumulative investment in installed solar installations in the U.S. soared from $2.6 billion to $71.1 billion, the report says.
The video report includes the following highlights:
- In 2004, approximately 15,500 homes had solar photovoltaic installations across the U.S. Through the end of 2014, that number had grown to 600,000;
- From 2004 to 2014, the number of utility-scale solar projects in the U.S. – both PV and concentrated solar power (CSP) – increased by more than 10-fold, growing from 100 projects to nearly 1,100 projects in 30 states;
- From 2004 to 2014, the amount of installed utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. increased by more than 30 times – from 365 MW to 11,440 MW; and
- Over the 10-year period studied, the average price of an installed residential PV system dropped by more than 60%, and utility-scale prices dropped by more than 73%.
Rhone Resch, CEO of SEIA, says the growth of the U.S. solar sector has produced corresponding job growth. In 2004, there were fewer than 20,000 people at work in the U.S. solar industry. Through 2014, that number had risen to 174,000.
Resch credits public policies, such as the solar ITC, net-energy metering and renewable portfolio standards, as helping to drive the growth of solar energy.Â
‘Because of these polices, we should be generating enough clean electricity to power more than 8 million American homes by the end of 2016,’ Resch says.
Citing the importance of the ITC, SEIA has been pushing for legislation that would extend the incentive for residential and commercial solar installations.