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U.S. solar growth blows away previous records

Lucas Mearian | Feb. 16, 2017
The solar industry now employs more than twice as many Americans as does the coal industry

The solar industry now employs more than twice as many Americans as the entire coal industry, and just as many as the natural gas industry.

Last year not only represented the most megawatts ever installed, but utility-scale growth represented the highest growth rate of any energy segment, increasing 145% over 2015, according to GTM Research and the SEIA.

Solar photovoltaic jobs
George Washington University's Solar Institute. Workers install rooftop solar panels.

Another non-residential market -- the community or shared solar segment -- also exceeded expectations with a record 200MW of new energy, led by installations in Minnesota and Massachusetts.

"For the first time since 2011, non-residential installation growth surpassed residential solar growth, which posted a still-impressive 2,583MW," the GTM Research/SEIA report stated. "While growth in California's residential market has begun to level out, strong growth in markets like Maryland, New Jersey and a handful of emerging states where solar has achieved grid parity, helped the residential segment to grow 19% year-over-year."

 

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