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Renewable Energy

U.S. Solar Power Installations Hit 2 Million

It’s finally drying out here in eastern Pennsylvania. Like a lot of the U.S., we’ve had our share of wet, rainy weather.

But today the sun is out. And it provided the power to generate this article.

The weather has also been steadily improving for today’s solar panel manufacturers and installers.

Living Proof

First, let me tell you about my experience with solar energy.

My wife and I have a 10-kilowatt (kW), ground-mounted solar array here at our farm. It provides about half of the electricity we use.

We installed our system back in November 2011. By the end of last year, the system had paid for itself.

We recently decided we want to generate all of our own power. So we’re adding another 10 kW worth of solar panels.

Our new array will have fewer panels than our current one because over the past eight years manufacturers have significantly raised the average efficiency of silicon-based panels.

When we purchased our original 45-panel system, panels were about 17% efficient.

Today, SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR) – our manufacturer of choice – makes panels that capture 22.2% of the sun’s energy that hits them.

The company now produces the world’s first 400-watt home solar panel. That means we’ll need just 25 panels for our new 10 kW system.

It’s all good news for renewable energy companies like SunPower.

Back in January 2018, President Trump slapped a 30% tariff on imported solar panels and cells.

But SunPower makes its panels here in the U.S. and is the largest U.S. solar panel manufacturer.

Rapid Growth Ahead

There’s never been a better time to go solar.

The solar tax credit means you can deduct 30% of the total cost of the system from your federal income taxes.

And plenty of Americans are. As evidence, the 2 millionth solar installation recently happened in the U.S.

It took 40 years for the first million installations. It took just three for the second million.

We should hit 3 million in 2021 and 4 million in 2023. The rapid growth of solar is completely changing energy conversations in the U.S.

Solar is a $17 billion industry. And it’s on track to double that number in just five years.

What Are You Waiting For?

I believe that in less than a decade, solar will be the top dog in new energy generation.

The 30% federal solar investment tax credit is available to homeowners through the end of this year. It drops down to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021.

After that, it disappears for residential systems.

So if you’re interested in solar, you better hurry.

Good investing,


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