T

he solar industry has been on an incredible voyage of progress, and you may be surprised at just how much has been achieved so far. Let’s check the most notable global and U.S. solar statistics.

Solar energy today

  1. The latest data shows that 3.6% of the world's electricity comes from solar power. What is more, solar is the third largest renewable electricity technology after hydropower and wind.
  2. Among all renewable electricity technologies, solar exhibited the second-highest growth in absolute generation in 2021, with a 22% increase from the previous year, trailing only behind wind power1.
  3. Holding over 95% of the global production market share, silicon-based solar panels remain the dominant type of PV modules, with the shift to more efficient monocrystalline panels.
  4. How much solar does the world currently use? In 2021, a cumulative solar energy capacity amounted to 940 GW, with 168 GW of new photovoltaic capacity installed that same year2.

Solar power by country

  1. China is the world leader in the use of solar energy, with a share of 31.7% of the world's consumption3.
  2. The second-largest solar consumer worldwide is the United States (16%).
  3. China also installed the most additional solar in 2021, increasing its total capacity by 54.9 GW. This was more than twice the amount added in the United States (26.9 GW).
  4. According to the latest Ember Climate stats, Luxembourg (17.9%), Yemen (15.4%), and Chile (12.9%) are the countries that produce the highest percentage of their electricity from solar4.

Solar panels U.S. stats: key facts on solar energy in the U.S.

  1. How much of the electricity in the U.S. is generated by solar energy? At present, it constitutes 4% of the overall output.
  2. The total solar capacity of the United States is 123 GW.
  3. With 32.4 MW of solar capacity, California leads the country, followed by Texas and Florida5.
  4. Solar power provided only 0.95% of U.S. electricity in 2015 and just 0.03% in 2010.
  5. Currently, 3.2 million U.S. homes have photovoltaic panels installed.
  6. It would take 18.5 billion photovoltaic panels to power the entire United States.

Cost of solar panels in the U.S.

  1. The average cost of a solar panel installation ranges from $16,870 to $23,170.
  2. The cost of photovoltaic panels in the U.S. has dropped by over 60% over the last decade6.
  3. The price of solar panels has declined by 36% over the past five years.
  4. Building solar power plants can be $10 per MWh cheaper than running existing coal plants.

How many employees are there in the U.S. solar industry?

  1. How many people are employed in solar? The number of employees in the U.S. photovoltaic industry in 2021 was about 33,100.
  2. How big was the percentage of those employees engaged in production? As estimated, the manufacturing workforce made up about 13% of all PV employment that year7.
  3. About 10.000 U.S. companies are present in the photovoltaic industry.
  4. Last year, the PV industry created more new jobs in the U.S. than any other energy subsector.

The U.S. solar potential

  1. The U.S. aims to produce 30% of its electricity from solar by 2030.
  2. The next ten years will see the installation of 324 GW of solar power.
  3. According to one of the NREL reports, there are over 8 billion square meters of rooftops in the United States on which photovoltaic panels could be installed.
  4. NREL estimates that an average of 3.3 million homes will be built annually or will require roof replacement – a potential of 30 GW of solar capacity per year8.

The global future of solar

  1. Based on solar energy statistics, it can be assumed that accelerated PV deployment could deliver 21% of the CO₂ emission reductions (roughly 4.9 gigatonnes per year) by mid-century.
  2. Solar power could satisfy a quarter of global electric energy needs by 2050.
  3. Asia would continue to dominate PV consumption, with over 50% installed capacity, followed by North America (20%) and Europe (10%).
  4. The global PV industry could employ over 18 million workers by 20509.

Solar energy in South Carolina is growing rapidly, with initiatives promoting solar installations and incentives for residents and businesses to adopt clean energy solutions.

Sources:

https://www.iea.org/reports/solar-pv

https://www.statista.com/statistics/280220/global-cumulative-installed-solar-pv-capacity/#:~:text=Global%20cumulative%20installed%20solar%20PV%20capacity%202000-2021&text=In%202021%2C%20global%20cumulative%20solar,installed%20in%20that%20same%20year.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/815187/countries-with-the-highest-share-of-solar-consumption/

https://ember-climate.org/data/global-electricity/

https://www.forbes.com/home-improvement/solar/solar-energy-facts/

https://www.seia.org/solar-industry-research-data

https://www.statista.com/statistics/713465/us-solar-manufacturing-industry-employment/

https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-rooftop-potential

https://www.irena.org/publications/2019/Nov/Future-of-Solar-Photovoltaic

Posted 
Jul 13, 2023
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