15 Eye-opening Solar Energy Statistics 

solar statistics

Solar energy is one of the fastest growing forms of energy around the world as we look toward renewable and sustainable forms of energy. (See ya, coal.)

And even though solar has really gained steam in the last decade, it’s clear that we’re only scratching the surface of this form of energy’s potential, as these stats show.

15 incredible statistics about solar energy

1. In 2018, solar installations represented 22% of all new US electric generation capacity—coming in a distant second to natural gas at 58%. (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

That’s not counting portable solar options, of course.

2. But things changed fast. In the first quarter of 2019, solar accounted for over 50% of all new electric capacity. (Source: SEIA)

3. The amount of solar capacity in the US grew by more than 23 times in just eight years—from 1.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2008 to a roughly 27.4 GW at the end of 2015. That’s enough energy to power the equivalent of 5.4 million average American homes. (Source: Solar Energy Industries Association)

4. Since 2010, the average cost of solar panels has fallen more than 70%, making solar arguably more worth it than ever. That means an average-sized residential solar panel system (about 4 or 5 kW) has dropped from a (pre-incentive) price of $40,000 in 2010 to roughly $20,000 today. (Source: SEIA)

5. But! The “soft costs” of solar have been going up. These soft costs include (Source: Energy.gov):

  • Permit fees
  • Installer / developer profits
  • Installation labor
  • Supply chain costs

6. … And now they make up up to 64% of the cost of installing solar on your home. (Source: Energy.gov)

7. Plan on selling your home in the future? Homebuyers care how environmentally-friendly their homes are! (Source: National Association of REALTORS®)

Homebuyers are more likely to pay more for a solar-equipped home. A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that on average, solar increased the value of a home by about $15,000. (Source: Berkeley Lab)

8. Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource we have. An incredible 173,000 terawatts of solar energy hits the Earth on a constant basis. That’s more than 10,000 times the entire world’s total energy use! (Source: Energy.gov)

10. In 2018, almost 315,000 Americans installed solar panel (aka. photovoltaic or PV) systems on their homes. (Source: SEIA)

11. From 2008 to 2019, the capacity of solar installations in the US grew 35 times to roughly 62.5 gigawatts (GW). That’s enough to power 12 million average American homes. (Source: SEIA)

12. If there were solar panels on just 0.6% of the US’s total land area, that could supply enough electricity to power the entire country.  (Source: Energy.gov)

13. The states that get the most sunshine a year on average (Source: Current Results):

StateCityTotal sunny hours a yearClear days a year*
ColoradoGrand Junction3,204136
CaliforniaSan Diego3,055146

🌞 Pro-tip: “Clear days” means the average number of days annually when cloud covers at most 30 percent of the sky during daylight hours

14. And these states get… not so much (Source: Current Results):

StateCityTotal sunny hours a yearClear days a year*

15. Honduras leads all countries, with solar making up 14.1% of all the power it consumes. It’s followed by Israel and Germany. (Source: International Energy Agency)

solar statistics infographic

15 Eye-opening Solar Energy Statistics 

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