By the time you've finished reading this article, more than one photovoltaic (PV) roof system will have been installed in the U.S. By the end of this year, we'll see a new PV roof system installed every 2.4 minutes, according to U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, Q2 2014. That's one more roof generating clean energy every two minutes.
Research conducted by GTM Research, a division of Greentech Media Inc., Boston, and the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) shows during the first half of 2014, 53 percent of new electric-generating capacity in the U.S. came from solar energy, much of it attributable to residential installations. Tens of thousands of U.S. households are generating their own electricity, and more than 143,000 U.S. workers are employed in solar manufacturing and services.
The Solar Market Insight Report forecasts 6.5 gigawatts (GW) of PV modules will be installed in the U.S. during 2014, a 36 percent increase from 2013 and more than triple the market size of just three years ago, with the fastest growth coming from the residential segment. With a total of 14.8 GW, there is enough installed solar capacity in the U.S. to power 3.2 million homes. This is enough pollution-free electricity to displace 19.4 billion pounds of coal or 2 billion gallons of gasoline, the equivalent of removing 3.8 million passenger cars from U.S. roads and highways.
The benefits of solar energy are evident—job creation and environmental sustainability. However, to realize these benefits, the solar industry must continue to collaborate and be proactive.