26% increase in Solar Power Generation in the U.S. in 2020

Solar power generation in the US has seen a massive increase in the last twenty years. According to data presented by Trading.Platforms.com, solar power generation in the US increased by 26% year on year in 2020, producing just under 91,000 Million Kilowatt Hours of solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) power.

The data shows that in the year 2000, the US only generated 493m KWh but by 2010, that number had risen to 1212m KWh at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.41% from 2000-2010. The momentum from the first decade of the millennium has continued for a further 10 years, with solar power generation peaking at 90,891m KWh in 2020, resulting in a CAGR of 53.99% for solar power generation in the last decade. The year 2020 saw an 86% widening of the difference between residential (3 GW) and commercial sector installations (1.2 GW) after the residential sector recorded its largest number of solar PV installations in a single year.

Rex Pascaul, editor at TradingPlatforms, said, “Renewable energy has become mainstream in the last two decades especially in markets like China and the US. As technology progresses, small scale solar generation will become even more and more accessible to the average resident in the coming years. This combined with growing awareness around the effects of Climate Change give solar power generation a bright future in the US.”

In recent time, the U.S. has witnessed a significant ramping up of the solar sector, especially on account of the Biden administration’s commitment towards accelerating clean-tech innovation and research, thereby reasserting American leadership in the energy sector which is expected to be dominated by renewables in the future. The latest announcement came from the US Department of Energy (DOE) which is offering USD 8.25 billion in loans from its Loan Programs Office (LPO) and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) in support of the government’s efforts to modernise the nation’s power grid and infrastructure and deliver 100 percent clean energy to businesses and homeowners by 2035. An update on efforts to make breakthroughs in solar technology was provided by the recent news of universities and research centres like Colorado State University (CSU), the Wright Center for Photovoltaics at the University of Toledo, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), as well as US-based commercial solar companies working with Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar panel manufacturing, joining forces to form the U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Cadmium Telluride (US-MAC) photovoltaics consortium, aiming to raise CdTe PV efficiency to 30%. It is left to be seen how advancement in the US solar industry will be taken by global competitors like China, and if the two countries are headed for a battle for supremacy in the clean energy sector.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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