As fortunes fade for fossil fuels, solar power is on it’s way to becoming the top new energy source in the US, according to new data from the US Energy Information Administration.
Solar projects are expected to generate about 9.5 gigawatts of new energy in 2016 – adding more new capacity to the nation’s grid than any other industry.
While natural gas ranked second place, wind power came in closely behind in third, and is expected to generate 6.8 gigawatts in the coming year.
With renewables becoming increasingly mainstream across the country, a clean energy future may indeed be within reach for the US.
- Renewables are more popular than ever, and will become even more so. Solar energy is the fastest growing source of new energy in the country, while wind industry developers installed more megawatts during the fourth quarter of 2015 than they did in 2014’s entirety. Investors get that a renewable-power future is inevitable, and those ahead of the curve are putting their money where their mouths are.
- With more solar energy comes more US jobs. According to the Solar Foundation, the US solar industry employs just 200 000 people — growing 20 per cent since 2014, with over 70 000 more employed in the wind industry. With a renewable energy boom anticipated in the upcoming year, job growth can also be expected.
- If the US is serious about the climate, all fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. While the solar surge is a testament to climate progress, the country’s natural gas industry – the energy source behind the recent California methane crisis – is still growing. If the US is truly committed to making climate a priority, it needs to be ready to stand up to the oil lobby, continue investing in renewable projects and end support for fossil fuels both at home and abroad.