The solar energy takeover might be possible sooner than we think, according to a new report out of the Environment America Research and Policy Center.
Even though solar panel technology is the environmentally friendly answer to more traditional energy solutions that consume limited resources and damage the environment, Americans have been slow to adopt solar energy systems. High installation costs are often blamed, along with a lack of government support.
However, the new report claims that the United States “has the potential to produce more than 100 times as much electricity from solar PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) installations as the nation consumes each year.” It adds that every state could use solar power to generate more electricity than residents currently consume.
The report also says that as many as 35 million residential and commercial buildings have roofs suited to solar installation.
Information in the report was gathered from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Energy Information Administration.
According to Environment America’s energy program director, Rob Sargent, benefiting from solar energy is “technically achievable,” even if not every American switches over. “We only have to capture a fraction of it, one hundredth of it to get all of our current electricity needs,” he told the Washington Post.
Currently, solar power generates a mere 0.23% of electricity generated in the U.S., but the report says that number could rise to 10% over the next 30 years if the government implements policies like tax credits and research funding for solar energy systems.
This claim is supported by a prediction from Vishal Shah, Deutsche Bank’s leading solar industry analyst, in a report on the country’s second-largest solar installation service, Vivint Solar.
According to Shah, Vivint Solar has the potential to double its sales every year for the next two years. This expansion will be accompanied by a sharp decline in the cost of solar energy resulting from the cheaper cost of photovoltaic panels and installation.
In fact, Shah believes that by 2016, costs for solar energy will finally reach price parity with other electricity options in all 50 states.
Between these two reports, the future looks bright for solar energy.