Solar capacity in the US increased 30% in 2014 to reach 6.2 gigawatts and emerge as the most popular source of renewable energy, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
In addition, 767 megawatts of concentrating solar power came on-line in the same period. Solar accounted for 32% of the nation’s new generating capacity in 2014, edging out both wind energy and coal for the second year in a row. Only natural gas constituted a greater share of new generating capacity.
3.9 GW of utility-scale PV projects came on-line with another 14GW of projects currently under contract. The commercial segment installed just over 1GW, down 6% from 2013, mainly due to funding difficulties. The U.S. residential segment’s 1.2 GW in 2014 make it the fastest-growing market segment, with 50% annual growth in each of the last three years.
“Without question, the solar Investment Tax Credit has helped to fuel our industry’s remarkable growth,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “Today the US solar industry has more employees than tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter combined.
“Since the ITC was passed in 2006, more than 150,000 solar jobs have been created in America, and US$66 billion has been invested in solar installations nationwide. We now have 20GW of installed solar capacity – enough to power 4 million US homes – and we’re helping to reduce harmful carbon emissions by 20 million metric tons a year. By any measurement, the ITC has been a huge success for both our economy and environment.”