If you think the solar boom went bust with the recession, take a look at the numbers below, which paint a different picture. Solar is coming back with a vengeance, growing 418% from 2010 to 2014 . And while solar is still a small overall part of America’s energy mix, this type of growth in adoption definitely signals that it could become mainstream. Solar is predicted to become the world’s largest source of electricity in the next 35 years.
California is towering over other states in terms of solar energy adoption, with the next closest states being Arizona, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Hawaii. While only certain residential and commercial buildings are suitable for solar, one of the biggest opportunities is shared solar, which has the capability of tripling access to solar power in the United States.
Statistics on the Growth of Solar
Percent increase in solar usage from 2010 to 2014 
Year the IEA predicts solar will become the world’s largest source of electricity 
Percent of power plant capacity additions in 2013 that came from solar power, up from less than 6% in 2012. 
Number of minutes it takes for another person to switch to solar energy. 
Amount the price of a PV solar panel has dropped since 2010 
Percent of the globe that would need to be covered in solar panels to power the entire world. 
Interest in Solar Power Over Time
Interestingly, the growth in use of solar power isn’t in complete lockstep with the trends we’re seeing in Google searches. At first glance, online interest appears to be declining slowly but steadily since 2009. But if you look closely, there does appear to be an upswing starting as of late 2013 or early 2014.
A preview query of Channel Signal data estimates that there were over 386,500 English posts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress in July alone about solar energy. A preview of related keywords that are used in those posts gives you an idea of what people associate with solar when they post online.
- Electricity Monthly Update, Energy Information Administration, April 2014
- The Growth of Residential Solar Energy, Clean Technica, September 17, 2014
- Half of power plant capacity[…] Energy Information Administration, April 8, 2014
- Solar Industry Data, Solar Energy Industries Association, 2014
- How solar energy could be[…], International Energy Agency, September 29, 2014
- Solar City, SolarCity.com, Retrieved March 23, 2015
- Photo credit: Wikipedia