Solar power popularity is ever-growing. Solar power generation climbed to about 7 percent of total U.S. renewable generation in 2015. In the future it is expected to grow about 36 percent by 2050, making it the fastest-growing electricity source.
Solar power currently remains, after hydro and wind, the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity. In 2012, more than 100 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) power was installed in the world. This amount capable of producing at least 110 TWh of electricity every year.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of solar power, there are many good reasons to believe it will become the dominant source of electricity in the not-too-far future. Experts believe that by 2050, solar power could be the world’s largest source of electricity. Keeping our world cleaner than we would be burning fossil fuels for the same electricity.
In theory, solar energy was used by humans as early as 7th century B.C. when history tells us that humans used sunlight to light fires with magnifying glass materials. Later, in 3rd century B.C., the Greeks and Romans were known to harness solar power with mirrors to light torches for religious ceremonies.
There are now 1.3 million solar installations across the United States, with a cumulative capacity of over 40 gigawatts. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that 1 megawatt of electricity can power 164 homes, so 40 gigawatts is enough capacity to power 6,560,000 U.S. households. This number is steadily increasing every day as we install solar panels on new houses.
Such a house generally needs about 16 panels to completely cover electrical power needs. If you are looking to heat water for the average family of four, two solar thermal panels would be needed.
Solar photovoltaic installers make up about half of this workforce. In fact, solar PV installer is currently the fastest-growing job in the nation, with a median annual salary of nearly $40,000. For comparison, the coal industry only supports about 160,000 jobs.