The future belongs to solar – and its massive growth begins now. That’s the upbeat forecast from the U.S. Department of Energy, issued in a new report on decarbonizing the nation’s power supply by 2050. Here’s the roadmap:
- 2020, the U.S. added a record 15 gigawatts (GW) of solar, raising the nation’s total installed solar capacity to 76 GW, equal to 3% of U.S. electricity supply.
- Between now and 2025, the rate of solar installations must double to 30 GW per year to stay on track with the nation’s decarbonization goals.
- Between 2025 and 2030, the rate of solar installations needs to double again – to 60 GW per year – raising solar’s total contribution to 1,000 GW, or 40% of the nation’s power supply, by 2035.
- By 2050, solar capacity is expected to reach 1,600 GW, equal to 45% of the nation’s future power supply, with wind, nuclear and hydro power rounding out America’s future carbon-free grid. Overall power demand is slated to grow by 75% over the 2020 – 2050 period, driven by ongoing electrification of the transportation and building sectors.
A continuing drop in solar prices and other technological advances will support the rise of a renewable-dominant grid. Battery storage will enable more flexibility and resilience at times of peak demand, while deployment of smart inverters, microgrids and artificial intelligence will enhance system reliability, demand forecasting and grid performance. Best of all, from an economic standpoint, the DOE report says that the transition to a solar-driven grid will employ up to 1.5 million people — without raising electricity prices!
From a resource management perspective, replacement of thermal power plants with solar and other renewables will reduce utility water use by 90%. Meanwhile, ground-based solar arrays will require only 0.5% of contiguous U.S. land area (or about five times the acreage currently occupied by golf courses in the United States). And in terms of recycling, ongoing technological advances in solar panels and batteries, and greater use of recyclable substrates, will propel growth of a “circular economy” that cuts down on waste and depletion of natural resources.
With federal solar tax credits extended through 2023, now is the time to get on board the solar bandwagon.
Solaflect Energy is your home energy management partner. We help you install clean and affordable solar electricity and home battery systems for a more resilient and climate-friendly future. Click here to contact us, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (802) 649-3700, or text (802) 308-3018. Together, the power is in our hands to make a difference!