Distributed solar was 13% of all new power plant capacity in 2014, and 2015 is starting off even bigger. Distributed residential and commercial solar installations surged 45% over the same period last year and accounted for 35% of all new power plant capacity in the first quarter of 2015.
The following chart shows the quarterly data for 2014 and the first quarter of 2015.
The first quarter of 2015 continues a decade-long trend of toward renewable energy, generally, and toward distributed renewable energy. And these smaller scale power plants create more opportunities for local ownership, directing more of the economic value of new power plants into local economies.
The sustained growth of small scale solar continues the unraveling of the utility’s un-natural monopoly. It also brings a sharper focus on the $48 billion opportunity for U.S. electricity customers in energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy development.
The opportunity may only grow. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that residential solar alone will represent 45% of the solar market from 2017-2020. Combined with non-residential small-scale solar, distributed solar is expected to be nearly 75% of the solar market!
What’s the takeaway from the impressive showing of small-scale solar in 2014?
We’re nearing the turning point toward a more democratic energy system.