WASHINGTON — In celebration of the 45th annual Earth Day, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) marked the occasion every 2.5 minutes of every hour of the day, as a new solar installation is completed in America. New figures from the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review show a record amount of new, clean solar energy coming online over the next 20 months, greatly benefitting the environment.

“On April 22, 1970, when the very first Earth Day was held, there was virtually no solar energy powering the grid in the U.S.,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO, SEIA. “How times have changed. Today, there are 20 GW of installed solar capacity in the U.S. — enough to power more than 4 million American homes — and we’re going to double both of those numbers by the end of next year. That’s our commitment to America and to our planet. By the end of 2016, solar is expected to offset nearly 45 million metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, the equivalent of removing nearly 10 million cars from U.S. roads and highways, or shuttering 12 coal-fired plants. That’s a pretty impressive ‘high five’ for our environment.”

Resch said it took 40 years for the U.S. to install its first 20 GW of solar, but she anticipates the nation will add another 20 GW by the end of 2016. Other projections from the latest SEIA/GTM Research report include: Sixteen states will install more than 100 megawatts (MW) of solar in 2016; in 2016, California is expected to install as much solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity as the entire country did in 2014; the U.S. will surpass 1 million residential solar installations during the next two years; solar will be close to generating 2 percent of America’s electricity needs by the end of 2016; and all solar market sectors — residential, non-residential, and utility scale — are expected to grow 25-50 percent over the next two years.

Publication date: 5/18/2015

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