Report on Millionth Solar Installation Milestone

Million Solar Strong
May 06, 2016

On May 3, 2016, the GW Solar Institute participated in the #MillionSolarStrong campaign marking the millionth U.S. solar installation by contributing a report that highlighted the key trends leading up the notable milestone.

The Institute’s report used visually compelling graphics in order to make a variety of solar trends more accessible and understandable to the general public. Findings included historic timelines that showed how solar installations grew from just 1,000 in 2001, to 100,000 in 2009, to a million today. The analysis also put into context the amount of electricity generated by one million installations, compared the amount of carbon emissions reduced to other relevant metrics, and highlighted the number of jobs created based on the Institute’s work on the 2015 Solar Jobs Census. 

“The growth curve that allowed the U.S. to reach today’s million solar installation milestone is comparable to adoption rates in other disruptive technologies like personal computers and cellphones,” said Amit Ronen, Director of the GW Solar Institute. “A million U.S. solar installations will produce as much electricity as is used in all of Pennsylvania and could cover every rooftop in New Mexico.”

The Institute report also highlighted some of the challenges that low-income families face in going solar. The growing recognition of this problem, an issue the Institute has been a leading contributor to over the past few years, was highlighted by the decision to hold the DC #MillionSolarStrong event at a low-income home that was in the process of installing its own solar system. 

One the event's attendees, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch summed up the milestone this way, "American leaders, entrepreneurs and organizations across the country have come together to publicly recognize solar as part of the mainstream energy discussion, and that's not something that can be easily ignored," said Resch. "While it took us 40 years to hit one million U.S. solar installations, we're expected to hit 2 million within the next two years. Solar energy isn't just here to stay, it's rapidly growing because of the hardworking American families who have made it clear they want access to clean, affordable, reliable electricity."

Over 70 diverse organizations from across the country also marked this milestone, including some of the nation's largest solar companies as well as groups like the Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, the Christian Coalition of America, the Climate Reality Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Electrical Contractors Association, and the National Roofing Contractors Association.