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US Solar Industry Growth

US Solar Industry Sees speedy Growth

Posted on June 6, 2018 by Snigdha Mandal

In 2016, US solar industry sector generated about US$ 154 billion in economic activity, including wages, salaries, benefits, taxes and fees and direct sales. The revenues in this sector have also grown from US$ 42 million in 2007 to US$ 210 million in 2017. Solar has contributed about 25% of total new power plant capacity installed in 2017. The US solar capacity is over 50 gigawatts, which is equivalent to generating capacity of 50 commercial nuclear reactors. 

Solar industry is expected to steadily grow and a foreseeable future can be predicted for this sector. However, recent events such as the solar trade tariff and tax code changes could dampen that trend. According to a recent report, the tariff alone may reduce solar installations by 11 percent from 2018 through 2022. 

about 370,000 people in the United States are directly or indirectly employed in this sector, among which around 260,000 people are full- or part-time. About half of this workforce is solar photovoltaic installers. with a median annual salary of nearly $40,000, solar PV installer is currently the fastest-growing job in US.

Nearly 80% solar panels installed in the nation last year were built overseas. China has poured up to $47 billion into tax breaks and incentives to develop what it views as a strategic capability. However, the industry was invented here. these investments reduced the price of solar panels by 80% between 2008 and 2013, along with an abundant supply of cheap skilled labour. 

industry stability and growth have been offered by the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 59% in the last decade. ahead of potential drop down of the ITC, installations surged in 2016. However, an extension in late 2015 has created federal policy stability through 2021.

The cost has dropped by over 70% since 2010 to install solar. This statistic leads the industry to expand into new markets and deploy thousands of systems nationwide. due to increases in module costs, over the second half of 2017, slight upticks in system prices has been witnessed. 

US Solar Statistics (2017)

  • 10,608 MW installed
    1. Down 30% from a record-breaking 2016, over 40% higher than 2015
    2. 3,898 MW installed in Q4 2017 for third-largest quarter ever


  • Over 53 GW of total solar capacity now installed
    1. Average annual growth rate of 59% over the last 10 years
    2. Generates enough electricity to power 10.1 million homes


  • Solar accounts for 30% of all new capacity installed
    1. Builds upon strong 2016 in which solar accounted for 39% of all new capacity, and ranks 1st
    2. Solar currently generates 1.9% of all electricity nationally


  • While prices have dropped 52% over last 5 years, price declines slowed in 2017
    1. Total installed system price changes over last 12 months range from an increase of 1.6% in residential to a decrease of 2% in non-residential
    2. System price increase attributable to rising module costs caused by Section 201 case; other hardware and some soft costs have declined
    3. Utility-Scale PPAs now signed at US$ 28 - US$ 45 per MWh


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