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arnessing the sun's potential has been only a dream in bygone times, but now it's a rapidly growing reality. In a world that's striving for renewable energy, solar stepped into the limelight, and boy, does it shine brightly! Buckle up as we embark on a journey to explore the current situation in the industry, pricing, leading states, global comparison, and future prospects of solar power in the United States.

Photovoltaics in the USA: Pioneer in Solar Energy

Humble Beginnings

Our journey began in the mid-20th century when scientists at Bell Labs invented the first practical silicon solar cell. Efficiency? A humble 6%. But like a baby taking its first steps, it was our breakthrough in our solar energy journey.

Current Energy State in America

Now here we are in 2023, when the U.S. stands as one of the global giants with over 130 gigawatts of solar capacity installed. It also boasts a unique advantage for solar energy – its vast swathes of sun-drenched land. Solar now caters to around 3.5% of total electricity production in America.

PV Energy System Prices and Affordability

PV System Pricing in U.S.

Solar-associated costs are in a delightful and constant nosedive. From 2009 to 2019, prices for solar systems plummeted by a staggering 90%. It is mostly connected to impressive advancements in PV technology that have resulted in increased efficiency and, as a result, influenced PV system costs in a blissfully positive way. Today, in addition to solar energy being an environment-friendly alternative, it's also a wallet-friendly one, often competing with traditional power sources price-wise.

Factors Influencing Costs

Solar energy prices aren’t just pulled out of a hat. They are influenced by a myriad of factors, such as material costs, installation costs, financing, hardware, and even the amount of sunshine. But remember, it's not just about initial costs, it's about long-term savings, and there are plenty with solar energy.

Solar Energy Winners: Best States in PV Installations

California - Champion

California, the Golden State, isn't just golden for its coasts. With over 40 GW installed solar capacity, It's a true solar champion. Its sunny climate and progressive renewable energy policies make it a perfect playground for photovoltaics. And let's not forget the stunning Solar Star Project with its 579 MW that greatly contributes to the state’s energy landscape.

Texas - Dark Horse

The Lone Star State, known for its oil, is surprisingly a dark horse in the solar energy race. With over 18 GW of installed capacity, it is blazing a trail toward a sunnier future. The state's abundant sunshine, combined with vast tracts of available land, make it a great place for solar energy.

Florida - Sunshine State

It isn't called the Sunshine State for nothing! Enjoying almost 3,000 sun hours yearly, it has successfully reached a whooping 12 GW of solar energy capacity. From its sun-soaked beaches to PV panels, Florida takes full advantage of its sunny disposition.

Global Rank, Solar Targets, and Governmental Support

U.S. Spot in Global Ranks

The US proudly stands as the second-largest solar power producer globally. With aggressive renewable energy targets and incentives, it is not just trying to keep up with the global energy trend - it's aiming to lead it.

Clean Energy Targets

The United States has set ambitious long-term goals for photovoltaics. A key objective is to achieve 30% of electricity generated from solar energy by 2030.

In addition to specific solar energy targets, there are broader long-term goals for renewable energy. This includes reaching 100% carbon-free electricity generation across all renewable sources by 2035. This is an ambitious but not unrealistic goal considering what progress that has already been made.

Government Incentives: Efforts in Reaching Energy Goals

The government is driving solar progress by implementing strategic policies. One significant initiative is the Solar Investment Tax Credit, providing a generous tax credit of 30% for eligible PV projects in 2023. This demonstrates the government's unwavering commitment to supporting and accelerating the widespread adoption of solar energy.

Final Thoughts on Photovoltaics in America

From its early stages to its current position, our solar power journey has seen steady growth and progress. With increasing solar installations, government support, and declining costs, the U.S. solar industry has made significant progress. As we continue our journey, one thing is clear – the future of clean energy is looking brighter than a supernova-powered disco ball. So, let's keep striding forward on this shining path toward a better tomorrow.

Sources:

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

https://www.rocketsolar.com/learn/energy-efficiency/how-cost-solar-panels-has-fallen

https://www.seia.org/states-map

https://www.seia.org/research-resources/30-2030-new-target-solar-decade

https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2023-05/DOE%20-%20100%25%20Clean%20Electricity%20-%20Final.pdf

Posted 
Jul 23, 2023
 in 
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