Solar growth

Anne BrockDowntown

Every 39 seconds. That’s how often a new solar array was installed in this country during 2023. The U.S. Department of Energy reports the nation has cumulatively reached nearly five million total residential solar installations. Plus, the latest report by the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood MacKenzie emphasizes continued steady growth in commercial solar. New capacity to produce electricity in the country is more and more often because of solar photovoltaics.

According to this latest industry report, the solar industry is expected to continue growing by three percent annually through 2029. The largest strides in solar recently have been in commercial solar for businesses as well as for utilities and entire communities. The first quarter of 2024 has been the strongest on record for utility-scale solar, installing 9.8 gigawatts (GW). This is the largest portion of a record first quarter for solar installations totaling 11.8 GW.

“Solar is scaling by the millions because it consistently delivers on its promise to lower electricity costs, boost community resilience and create economic opportunities,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “Solar is quickly becoming the dominant source of electricity on the grid, allowing communities to breathe cleaner air and lead healthier lives.”

The report reflects a downturn in the number of home solar installations, citing higher interest rates among reasons homeowners are less likely to install their own distributed system.

The report praises the trend toward more opportunities to manufacture solar panels in the United States. It notes some uncertainty about tariffs on imported modules, challenges in obtaining high voltage equipment for larger projects and scarcity of skilled labor.

Despite the challenges, this report notes the solar industry is expected to continue growing by three percent annually through now and 2029.

Anne Brock is marketing coordinator for, which offers start-to-finish solar project management, energy evaluations and continuing education Solar 101 classes for some professionals. She can be reached at: 865-221-8349


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