If you cruise the Internet and check out solar companies, chances are high you will find Edison’s famous 1910 quote:
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.”
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, 17,500+ MW of cumulative solar electric capacity is now operating in the U.S., enough to power more than 3.5 million average American homes. This includes power generated from the three types of solar-electric systems: photovoltaic panel systems on the roofs of homes, businesses, schools … etc; large scale utility-size systems; and, solar thermal power generation systems [power towers].
Consider these additional important facts as well:
- The U.S. solar industry employs over 160,000 workers.
- 36% of all new electric generating capacity in 2014 was from solar systems.
- Since 2004, the installed price of solar system capacity dropped from $8.50 per watt to about $3.80.
- The over 1100 national commercial solar system installations displaced over 549,246 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
- The top three states with cumulative solar electric capacity are California, Arizona, and New Jersey.
- US solar energy capacity grew an astounding 418% from 2010-2014.
Solar electricity now contributes just a small fraction of our nation’s current electricity needs, but it is becoming a highly desirable and super-clean form of electric generation. If Edison were alive today, he would certainly be competing in the marketplace with new solar application ideas. Remember, it was Edison who gave us the modern electric utility system in the first place … and he was always improving his inventions, making room for new technologies. He would certainly make room for solar!
Editor Deep Dive
Try this … calculate how much solar energy could save when installed on your home at: pvwatts.nrel.gov/pvwatts.php
Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”
Time® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.