Solar energy has grown 30-fold in the United States since 2010, report finds

The Renewables on the Rise 2020 report released by the Environment America Research and Policy Center and Frontier Group reveals that solar energy has grown 30-fold since 2010 in the United States, which represents an increase of 103,652 GWh.

In addition to the growth in renewable energy, utility-scale battery storage increased 20-fold since 2010, energy consumption per person declined thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and more than one million electric vehicles were sold in the U.S.

The report highlights the states that have made the most progress in adopting solar and wind energy, increasing battery storage capacity, improving energy efficiency, and transitioning to electric vehicles.

California, North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas added the most solar energy between 2010 and 2019, while the Mid- and Southwest states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois saw the most wind energy growth. In Kansas and Oklahoma, wind generation grew more than six-fold during that time.

The New England states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts led the pack on efficiency improvements. In addition to taking first place for solar energy growth by a wide margin, California also ranked No. 1 for electric vehicle charging stations and sales (followed by New York, Washington, Florida, and Texas).

California was responsible for 40 percent of the growth in the solar industry from 2010 to 2019, and was also top for growth in battery storage (followed by Illinois, Texas, Hawaii, and West Virginia).

Top 10 states for solar electricity growth from 2010-2019

Rank State Increase in solar Increase in solar electricity, 2010-2019
1 California 41,725
2 North Carolina 7,545
3 Arizona 7,515
4 Nevada 5,294
5 Texas 5,287
6 Florida 4,491
7 Massachusetts 3,288
8 New Jersey 3,075
9 Utah 2,605
10 New York 2,447

According to the report, solar energy provided 2.6% of America’s electricity in 2019, up from less than one-tenth of a percent in 2010. It also notes that the U.S. has the technical potential to meet its current electricity needs more than 75 times over with solar energy, and every state in the country has enough solar energy potential to supply all of its electricity needs.

Source: Press release by Environment America Research and Policy Center. Photo credit: U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).