In the United States, solar electricity is more economical, accessible, and widespread than ever. Solar power capacity in the United States has expanded from 0.34 GW in 2008 to an estimated 97.2 GW.
This is enough energy to power 18 million ordinary American homes. In the form of solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power, solar energy now provides over 3% of all electricity in the United States (CSP).
The average cost of solar PV panels has decreased by about 70% since 2014. Solar energy markets are fast expanding since solar electricity is already cost-competitive with traditional energy sources in most states.
Solar’s abundance and potential in the United States are astounding: PV panels covering just 22,000 square miles of the country’s total land area – roughly the size of Lake Michigan – could power the entire country. Solar panels can also be erected on rooftops with little or no influence on land use, and by 2030, it is expected that more than one in every seven households in the United States will have a rooftop solar PV system.
CSP, which has around 1.8 GW of capacity in the United States, is another way for catching energy from the sun. Between 2010 and 2020, the cost of power generated by CSP facilities dropped by more than half. According to research, CSP could deliver up to 158 GW of power to the United States by 2050 if cost reduction targets are satisfied.
Furthermore, the solar business has a track record of creating jobs across the country. Solar jobs in the United States have grown 167 percent in the last decade, five times faster than the general job growth rate in the US economy. More than 250,000 people work in the solar industry in the US, in industries like manufacture, installation, project development, trading, and distribution.
The US has yet to utilize solar energy as a sustainable energy source fully, and more must be done to speed up the adoption of solar technologies. However, market and grid integration issues continue to hamper wider implementation. Permitting, financing, and customer acquisition account for up to 65% of the overall cost of a residential PV installation. More technology and commercial innovations are needed to improve efficiency, cut costs, and enable utilities to use solar for baseload generation.
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