If you follow the solar energy industry in Central Florida or throughout the U.S., you are probably familiar with the common notion that as the cost of solar installations goes down, more people are investing in the solar technology. It makes sense that an industry should grow with more investments, but where are the numbers?
As far as the actual statistics, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) has reported Q2 of 2015 continues the record-breaking growth seen in the past few years. Q2 2015 saw a total of 1,393 megawatts of solar energy installed across the nation, the most growth a single quarter has ever seen. But if you widen the lens just a bit, it’s surprising to see how quickly the solar industry got to where it is today.
In 2009, the average cost of a solar PV panel was just under $8, with a total of 500 megawatts of direct current (MWdc) installed for the year. But since then, the cost has quickly fallen, averaging roughly a $1 decrease per year in cost of solar PV. In 2014, the cost of solar PV dwindled right under $3, and that’s a price that is catching the eye of casual investors. Homeowners and small businesses had an opportunity to make a difference in the way they got their energy, and from the 500 MWdc in 2009, 2014 saw that number jump to 6,000 MWdc. Not to mention, 2015 is on track to break that record, and 2016 is expected to prove even more lucrative for the solar industry.
There isn’t any question that cost of solar is a driving factor behind the growing interest, but how rapidly the industry grew, and continues to grow, may be surprising to people who have been on the fence about it. The numbers don’t lie. The solar energy revolution is well underway, and there has never been a better time to make the switch to solar.