2019 saw an abundance of clean energy dominance in the United States. From 11 states having a 100% commitment or achievement to clean energy to solar and solar battery storage prices becoming more and more affordable throughout the country, clean, renewable energy is here to stay. With that being said, we’re looking to the future. What will 2020 hold? What can we expect from clean energy in the next decade?
SEIA, the national trade association for the U.S. solar industry, announced that the 2020’s would be the Solar+ Decade. Their radical vision predicts that by the end of the decade, solar energy will account for 20% of all U.S. electricity generation. This is an attainable goal thanks to progressions in clean energy sources and solar storage systems.
If successful, not only will this initiative be great for the environment, it will also bring about new job opportunities, cleaner air, lower energy bills, better health and add billions of dollars back into the United States economy. With solar popularity soaring, prices will continue to fall, and SEIA predicts solar installations will hit a record high of 19 gigawatts this year, enough to power over 3 million homes.
For this vision to become a reality, Congress and the White House will need to create pro-solar policies and put an end to solar tariffs. Tax policies will need to be updated and trade laws must propel growth. State policies must continue with their forward momentum—carving out specific renewable standards that create opportunities for all forms of solar generation.
A recent financial sector survey states that between now and 2030, the U.S. private investment in renewable energy could reach up to $1 trillion. Achieving this would greatly help with renewable growth, promoting technologies like storage systems, modernized transmission systems and the deployment of pollution-free renewable power.
End of an Era for Coal and Natural Gas
More than half of today’s electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels. But, since 2010, we have seen a rapid decline in the use of coal, with over 500 coal-fired power units closing. We see this decline continue into the future as renewable energy has been beating coal on cost in parts all over the country. In 2018, 74% of U.S. coal plants were more expensive than renewables, with coal generation falling 18%.
2020 and beyond will also hope to see the demise of natural gas. Causing the unnecessary heating of our planet, carbon pollution and harmful health factors, the need to stop burning gas has never been greater. Gas has now replaced coal as being among the largest source of carbon pollution in many parts of the country. Most gas is burned in areas that are densely populated. Because policymakers are concerned about dirty air and clean energy is now cheaper than gas, many cities are banning the use of gas in new construction.
The road may be rocky and cluttered with obstructions, but we believe the solar industry will expand exponentially this decade. While ambitious, the goal of 20% clean energy generation is achievable. At Intersect Energy, our goals align with SEIA. We believe our solar development projects can help to maximize the economic benefits for our clients. Let’s continue this forward progression into the future. For all your green energy needs, look to the professionals at Intersect Energy. To keep up with all the latest news in renewable energy, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn.