Exploring the Rise of Solar Installations in the U.S: A Detailed Map and Future Projections till 2028

Hello Solar Enthusiasts!

The sun is shining bright on the future of community solar, setting the United States on track to reach an incredible 14 GW of cumulative solar installations by 2028! This projection comes from industry gurus Wood Mackenzie, and builds upon some quite impressive stats recently reported by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). SEIA tells us over 5.8 GW of community solar has already sprung up across the states since the start of 2023. There’s at least one community solar project basking in the sun in 41 states, and a total of 19 states are soaking up the benefits of shared renewables so much that they’re actively encouraging their growth through policy and programs.

Just stepping into the sunshine of the solar industry? Let’s quickly unpack what community solar is all about. Essentially, this concept enables residents, small businesses, organizations, and municipalities to take part in clean energy generation by subscribing to a portion of a solar asset—think of it as owning a slice of a mighty solar array. The power generated by your slice then credits your electricity bill. This is a brilliant option for those interested in solar panels for your home, but find themselves without a suitable roof or the financial means for rooftop solar.

Want to hear something even more amazing? Community solar programs recommended by the Department of Energy aim to give their subscribers savings of around 20% on their electricity bills. These programs are designed with customer protection in mind, with mechanisms in place to ensure the community solar assets deliver as expected. And remember, no exit or termination fees here, only sun-soaked savings, folks!

Now, keep in mind, community solar is still a fresh concept in many states. It needs nurturing through robust program structuring, regulatory support and community engagement to truly flourish. The successes seen in pioneering markets like New York and Illinois are fantastic blueprints for states looking to harness the power of community solar.

Meanwhile, Wood Mackenzie expects to see 7.6 GWdc of fresh community solar to sprout in established state markets between 2024 and 2028. And by 2026, the national total of community solar installations are forecasted to power past the 10 GW mark!

And guess who’s joining the solar party in a big way? Residential customers! More and more homes are discovering the advantages of community solar subscriptions and form an increasingly larger share of this ever-growing solar family. The number of low- and middle-income (LMI) customers rose from 2% to 10% from 2022 to 2023. And the costs to subscribe these customers have seen a 30% year-on-year dip. That’s what I call a sun-powered deal!

Let’s circle back to the Wood Mackenzie forecast. Of course, projections vary, so it’s worth noting that the 14 GW by 2028 figure could increase by 13% in a bull case or decrease by 38% in a bear case. This depends on various factors including policy shifts and levels of federal funding.

Speaking of funding, the community solar industry is on the cusp of experiencing the sunny impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act soon, which will be a major boost. LMI credit adders are set to kick in and the much-anticipated awards from the $7 billion ‘Solar for All’ fund are expected in summer 2024.

In the exhilarating words of Jeff Cramer, Chief Executive Officer of the Coalition for Community Solar Access, “I’m increasingly confident that we can leverage the transformational innovation of community solar products and the flexibility of programs to meet a diverse set of grid and policy goals in states across the country.”

So, whether you’re one of the many solar companies out there, a curious observer, or someone considering a solar array for home, let’s bask in the sunshine of these positive projections together. The future of community solar indeed looks bright!

Ignite your solar ambitions with my next blog post. Until then, keep soaking up the rays!

Original Articlehttps://pv-magazine-usa.com/2024/02/20/u-s-community-solar-installations-expected-to-more-than-double-by-2028/

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