Each year solar analysts take stock of the industry’s accomplishments with the annual Solar Market Insight Report (SMI) and each time the performance numbers impress. This year, however, is jaw-dropping. TerraSmart is passionate about all things solar, and we couldn’t wait to share the latest insights with this SMI preview.

The United States solar market nearly doubled last year, topping out at 14,625 megawatts (MW) of new solar installed. According to the latest report from GreenTech Media and the Solar Electric Industry Association (SEIA), the U.S. is now home to more than 1.3 million solar PV installations with a capacity of over 40 gigawatts. That’s enough to power 8.3 million households – which would light up every home in New York City.

Even at a $22.8 billion valuation, the American solar sector is relatively small – but it’s also strong. Solar’s average annual growth over the past decade has been 68 percentand the industry fuels an economic engine that employs more than 260,000 Americansacross 9,000 solar businesses.

Although top solar states still lead by a landslide in total capacity installed, they have paved the way for new markets with a record of 22 states that have added more than 100 megawatts of capacity in 2016.

Not only is solar generation more evenly spread across the country, new installations are outpacing all other sources of electricity.  For the first time ever, solar ranked as the number one source of new electric generating capacity in the U.S. and accounted for 39 percent of new capacity additions across all fuel types.

Solar’s biggest year ever offers no shortage of eye-popping stats:

Economically-winning solar makes environmentalists proud. Clean solar energy reduces carbon emissions by 52 million metric tons every year, equivalent to shutting down 15 coal-fired plants or taking 11 million vehicles off the road.

These mind-blowing stats beg the question: What happened in 2016 to stimulate such astounding growth? While U.S. solar grew across all segments, what stands out is the double-digit gigawatt boom in utility-scale solar attributed primarily to its reaching price points competitive with natural gas alternatives. Fearing that the federal Investment Tax Credit incentive was expiring last year, utilities rushed to get their projects installed – creating a 145 percent growth in demand, the highest rate of any segment. That’s more than 2.5 times the amount installed in 2015, the previous record-holding year.

TerraSmart stands ready to support this enormous pipeline of projects. We continue to build on our 200 percent growth over the past two years, moving to a new facility to meet the surge in demand for our trusted racking solutions. We’re working hard to promote and install solar across the nation so that these incredible growth statistics will continue into 2017 and beyond.

An article from Terra Smart.