As of 2019, solar panel installations surpassed the 2 million mark, illustrating the trend for Americans to choose renewable energy from the sun as their power source for residential homes. According to Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA president and CEO, “This $17 billion industry is on track to double again in five years, and we believe that the 2020s will be the decade that solar becomes the dominant new form of energy generation.”
What does solar production mean for an average household consumer?
A typical residential solar panel is approximately 65 inches long by 39 inches wide, containing 60 silicon photovoltaic cells where the energy is generated. The total amount of energy produced is dependent on the efficiency of the specific manufacturer’s design and the number of solar panels within the installation. Manufacturers are continuing to increase the efficiency of these panels, with average wattage production increasing from 200 to 320 watts per panel just over the past 8 years.
According to Solar-Estimate.org, an average 12.18kW residential system will completely offset a typical monthly electric bill of $147. A system of that size is estimated to cost approximately $28,000 after receiving the current 26% federal tax credit. Based on their estimations, this system will pay for itself after about 11 years, and yield a total lifetime savings of over $40,000.
A new way to increase clean, solar energy production
Of course, the use of solar panels to generate clean energy isn’t just for residential use. In October 2020, Duke Energy announced plans to fulfill a $36 million contract for the US Army’s Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Duke Energy will work with their prime contractor, Ameresco, to install the largest solar plant in the SouthEast—a 1.1 megawatt floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the Big Muddy Lake located at Camp Mackall.
Floating solar power systems like this can have a huge impact on electricity generation. Currently, about 90% of floating solar generation is being produced in Asia. However, according to the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), its estimated that installing these floating solar photovoltaics on the 24,000 man-made reservoirs in the United States could produce nearly 10% of our nation’s annual electricity requirements.
Want to learn more about solar energy and other forms of alternative energy?
The Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition’s mission is enhancing the livability of the Rogue Valley. We promote and educate on alternate fuels, seek to decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!