The Future of American Solar Power
The future of American solar power production looks bright-- in the second quarter of 2016 alone, 2 gigawatts worth of panels were installed. Put relatively, the solar capacity introduced between April and June of this year is roughly equal to the peak power generation of the Hoover Dam.
This surge of photovoltaics also indicates a 43% growth from the same time period in 2015, and marks the 11th consecutive quarter in which American solar exceeded 1 gigawatt. Industry experts predict that in the latter half of 2016 alone, more solar will be installed than any other full year. More than 10 gigawatts of additional solar is scheduled to join the grid within the next twelve months.
Utility-scale arrays contribute greatly to the windfall of clean energy, as federal incentives in the form of investment tax credits suddenly make large projects more feasible; nearly 53% of solar projects during the first half of 2016 were utility-scale. The intended deadline the incentives in late 2016 can explain the wave of new solar appearing this year; however, Congress has extended the national investment tax credit up until 2021 given the efficacy of the policy.
Though large-scale projects make up the lion’s share of these impressive figures, smaller public and private projects are also growing in number, particularly in states typically tied to gas and oil production, such as Utah and Texas. At long last, it seems solar is now being viewed as a solution rather than a partisan ploy.