The rise of solar businesses

US solar power businesses and jobs have grown steadily over the past several years.

Selina Lee

Because it’s Earth Day, let’s talk about the sun. Specifically, how solar power has grown and where it might be going.

Today, the US has the capacity to generate 121.4 gigawatts of solar power — enough to power 23m+ homes.

To put that in perspective, a new report found that the collective capacity of the top 9 solar cities — including Honolulu, Las Vegas, and San Diego — now exceeds what the entire nation’s capacity was 10 years ago.

More power means more business

There are 387 solar power businesses in the US as of 2022, a ~20% YoY increase, per data from industry research firm IBISWorld.

Why the surge?

  • A growing interest in renewable energy
  • Installation costs have dropped 60%+ over the last decade
  • Incentives, like residential and commercial tax credits

What’s next?

In 2020, ~76 gigawatts met ~3% of US electricity demand, per the Department of Energy. To achieve carbon-free electricity by 2050, America would need to increase solar output to ~1k-1.5k gigawatts, accounting for ~45% of demand.

Getting there would require supportive policies and reduced costs, but it could lead to 500k-1.5m people employed in the solar sector, up from 230k today.

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