New Developments in Solar Energy Growth
Solar energy has come a long way over the past decade. Most solar adopters used to be savvy Hollywood celebrities or dyed-in-the-wool environmentalists who were willing to pay a premium to do their part for the environment.
But now that solar has reached cost parity with traditional, utility-provided electricity in many areas, the good news about solar energy is spreading faster than ever. Even those who are skeptical about the validity of climate change science can’t argue with the dollars and sense of going solar.
Will 2015 Be the Solar’s Hottest Year on Record?
Every year, the solar installation numbers keep climbing, but 2015 is shaping up to break all the records. According to a the latest edition of the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research, the first three months of 2015 saw more residential solar systems installed than any previous quarter in the history of solar energy.
Solar Is Gaining Market Share
Looking at the energy pie chart, solar still represents a relatively dainty slice, but that piece of pie is getting bigger all the time.
The SEIA report also found that during the first three months of this year, solar installations accounted for more than half of all new generation capacity in the U.S.
Of the solar capacity installed, residential solar was the clear leader, growing by more than 75% over figures from the same time last year, and beating 2014 Q4’s gains by more than 10%.
How Many Households Have Gone Solar?
More than 60,000 new solar arrays came online during January, February, and March, bringing the estimated number of active solar systems in the U.S. to almost 700,000. It may be a small portion of the market, but solar energy is gaining market share by the second.
Solar Costs Are Still Falling
For many energy consumers, going solar now offers substantial long-term savings. Homeowners who purchase their own solar systems in solar-friendly states stand to gain the most, but even those who opt into a solar lease or PPA can expect a thoroughly respectable ROI.
Solar’s value proposition is going to keep getting better. The cost per watt for residential solar has fallen to $3.48 per watt, and economies of scale should push that number even lower in the months to come.
What Does the Future Hold for Solar?
Solar experts are forecasting big gains for the rest of the year, anticipating total PV production capacity to reach nearly 8 GW by the end of the year. The lion’s share of the gains will come from the residential market, but the commercial and industrial sectors seem eager to take advantage of solar energy, as well.
Solar’s forecast looks even brighter beyond year’s end. By the time we’re celebrating New Year’s Day 2017, the U.S. should have enough solar generation capacity to power 8 million households. That’s the equivalent of taking 10 million cars off the road.
Are You Ready to Go Solar?
Solar energy has reached bandwagon status, and its certainly a trend worth getting in on. Solar has a lot going for it: falling prices, lucrative tax incentives, and the warm, fuzzy feeling you’ll get from creating a better world for the citizens of tomorrow. So, when are you going to go solar?
And if you’re a solar installer, then we want to know — have you considered buying high quality solar leads to supplement your marketing strategies? Our partner at RGR Marketing can help you grow your solar business and improve revenue this year.
[Photo Via: Yestergame]