Three years ago, we reported that the United States had installed its one millionth solar energy system, a feat that took 40 years to accomplish. Recently, the Solar Energy Industries Association announced that there are now more than 2 million U.S. installations.
Analysts forecast that there will be 3 million installation in 2021 and 4 million in 2023.
California continues to lead the nation in installing solar power. More than 50% of the first million installations were in that state and California accounted for 43% of the second million. Its share is nevertheless slowly dropping with the growth of the residential solar sector that is rapidly diversifying across state markets. Some places have seen extremely rapid growth. In South Carolina, there were barely more than 1,000 cumulative installations in 2016; today, the state is home to more than 18,000 solar systems and expects to add 22,000 more over the next five years.
The five leading states in terms of number of solar installations are California, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Other states recently seeing rapid growth in solar installations are Texas, Utah, Florida, Rhode Island and Maryland. Looking ahead, Illinois is forecast to grow from only 4,000 installations today to nearly 100,000 by 2024. The top ten state markets apart from California expect to add nearly 750,000 installation over the next five years.
The United States is at least the third nation that is home to more than 2 million solar installations. (Australia hit the milestone late least year and Japan actually topped 2 million in September 2014).
According to forecasts from analyst first Wood Mackenzie, by the year 2024, there will be on average one new solar installation every minute.
The United States surpasses 2 million solar installations
Photo, posted January 11, 2012, courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
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