It appears that Americans are embracing solar energy in much the same way as Australians. A new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research shows that during the first quarter of 2018 there were more new solar installations in the US than any other form of energy.
Here’s a breakdown for Q1 2018:
- New solar – 55% at 2.5GW
- Wind – 40% at 1.8GW
- Natural gas and ‘other’ – 5% at 0.2GW
- Coal – no new installations
The strongest growth areas were in large-scale solar and community solar projects. Sunny states like Florida and California were among the top states for solar.
The solar market in the US is growing at the rate of 13 per cent annually. This is despite the Trump Administration’s tariffs of up to 30 per cent on imported solar energy products.
During 2017, there were 10.6 GW of new solar added across the country. Expectations are that the figures for 2018 will be similar, 2019 will be higher again, and that growth will really start to take off in the early 2020s. Forecasts indicate that annual solar installations will amount to 14 GW annually by 2023.
Crunching the numbers – what they mean for solar power
Industry analysts believe the data shows that solar power uptake is unstoppable in the US.
CEO of SEIA Abigail Ross Hopper commented that the data shows solar has become a “common-sense option” for many Americans and that it is “too strong to be set back for long, even in the light of tariffs”.
In addition, much as in Australia, American states are stepping up with policies to support solar that fill the gaps left by the federal government.
New solar installations in Australia shows similar patterns
Australia is showing some similar growth patterns to the US. For example, an Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) report shows a 17 per cent growth in renewable energy installations in Q1 2018 compared to Q1 2017.
Unlike America, though, where residential solar panel installations have remained fairly static, in Australia they increased by 16 per cent. Some states in the US have shown a slowdown of residential rooftop solar, possibly due to tariffs.
But overall the data indicates solar power is popular in both countries and that this trend looks like continuing.