Solar energy is on the rise in the United States; in fact, in his January State of the Union address, President Obama recognized this shift, saying that, “We’re becoming a leader in solar … every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced.”
It’s true that the U.S. has made great strides in promoting and installing solar energy systems. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than half of all U.S. states have their own renewable energy standards, and a recent study conducted by the non-profit research and policy center Environment Ohio notes that as of April 2014, the U.S. has more than 200 times as much solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity as it did in 2002.
The Environment Ohio study found that 2013 was a historic year for solar power; the U.S. as a nation passed the 10 gigawatt mark for solar capacity, and the nation installed more solar power in 2013 than in any other year previous. More than 4.37 gigawatts of solar energy were installed last year, the study found.
Overall, the study’s results are incredibly optimistic about the future of solar power in America. “America has enough solar energy potential to power the nation several times over,” the study reads. “Every one of the 50 states has the technical potential through both utility-scale and rooftop solar energy systems — to generate more electricity than is uses in the average year.” Further, “in 19 states the technical potential for electricity generation from solar PV exceeds annual electricity consumption by a factor of 100 or more.”