The end of September brought one of the largest solar power events in North America, Solar Power International, to Salt Lake City, Utah. The purpose of SPI is to gather solar, smart energy, energy storage and hydrogen fuel cell professionals together for 4 days of networking, education and innovation. Companies from all over are welcomed to showcase their latest and greatest innovations at this event with like-minded individuals who all share a common vision.
The most vital thing that came from this year’s event was the announcement of a new 10 year plan from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). One of the main goals that came from their plan was having solar energy account for 20% of all U.S. electricity by 2030. Today, solar energy in the U.S. only makes up about 2.4% of the total energy. While this goal may seem unachievable now, SEIA is certain it’s attainable with the next 10 years.
The Solar+ Decade: Roadmap for Building the Solar+ Economy
How exactly does SEIA’s 10 year roadmap plan to reach this goal by 2030? The new plan is built around a four pillar system to reach this target. These pillars are collaborating aggressively, the benefits of market accelerators, using market levers and policy drivers and managing growth of the solar industry responsibly.
- Aggressive Collaboration This pillar emphasizes the need to work together. SEIA suggests the collation of compatible individuals in other renewable energy sectors.
- Capitalizing on Market Accelerators Marketing accelerators like energy storage, carbon reduction goals and electrification are all important for the growth of solar energy. By taking advantage of these accelerators, the 20% goal is reachable.
- Market Levers and Policy Drivers In this third pillar, SEIA suggests “driving down costs, developing new financial mechanisms and building stronger federal and state policy.” The importance of managing these particular levers could “dramatically increase or limit solar deployment” so the success of this pillar is so important.
- Managing Growth as an Industry The final pillar in SEIA’s roadmap is to successfully manage and anticipate challenges and changes in the industry. With a predicted explosion of growth, the solar industry will have to manage this in a responsible way for advancement.
The Importance of 20% Solar Energy by 2030
Why is this all so important? Not only would this be a positive benefit for the environment, the payoff to the U.S. economy would be exponential. As SEIA CEO and President, Abby Hopper, stated “solar could add more than $345 billion to the U.S. economy over the next ten years, reaching $53 billion annually.” It would also provide more jobs to around 600,000 individuals, as well as lower utility costs, provide cleaner air and help with climate solutions that don’t negatively affect the economy.
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