Report: U.S. solar installations top 5 million

Published on May 20, 2024 by Chris Galford

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Since 2016, solar installations have quintupled in the United States, reaching more than 5 million as of this year, according to new data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.

“Solar is scaling by the millions because it consistently delivers on its promise to lower electricity costs, boost community resilience, and create economic opportunities,” Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA president and CEO, said. “Today 7 percent of homes in America have solar, and this number will grow to over 15 percent of U.S. homes by 2030. Solar is quickly becoming the dominant source of electricity on the grid, allowing communities to breathe cleaner air and lead healthier lives.”

These installations include everything from home-based panels to large ground-mounted arrays spread across acres of land. More than half of all U.S. solar installations came online since 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than a quarter since the Inflation Reduction Act and its credits became law as of 20 months ago.

Market trends, according to SEIA and Wood Mackenzie, show the growth trend is likely to continue nationwide, with figures as much as doubling to 10 million by 2030 and tripling to 15 million by 2034. Much of this growth will remain with the residential sector, which today accounts for 97 percent of all installations in the United States and has set five consecutive years of records for installations.

Another point of comparison is the state-by-state range. Today, the organizations reported that 11 U.S. states and territories host more than 100,000 solar systems. By 2030, they expect 22 states or territories to exceed that figure. Things have come a long way since 1973, when the first grid-connected solar installation entered service.