10 Solar Energy Facts And Charts You Should Know

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1. The price of a solar panel in 1975 was approximately 227 times higher than it is today — $101.5/watt versus $0.447/watt.

2. The price of a solar panel today is approximately 30% of what it was in 2010 — $0.447/watt versus $1.50/watt. That’s a 70% discount.

3. The lowest wholesale solar price bid from a solar developer (unsubsidized) is 2.42¢/kWh. That’s less than what new natural gas, coal or nuclear power can provide just about anywhere in the world.

4. Even excluding that record-low bid, and not taking into account the large social costs of coal and natural gas electricity, utility-scale solar power is cheaper than new coal, nuclear, natural gas peaking and IGCC power plants. It is comparable to combined cycle natural gas power plants, but again, that is without taking into account the social costs of pollution from extracting and burning natural gas.

5. 99% of new electricity generation capacity added in the US in Q1 2016 came from renewable energy sources with 64% coming from solar.

 6. The average installed cost of a residential rooftop solar power system in the US was $3.21/Wdc in Q1 2016.

7. The country leading annual solar power installations is now China, while the US comes in at #3.

8. Overall, solar power capacity grew greater than 10x over from 2009 to 2015, and greater than 100x over from 2002 to 2015.

9. US solar energy industry added more jobs in 2015 than the US oil & gas extraction & pipeline industries added combined, and grew 12x faster than the US economy as a whole.

10. Solar energy potential dwarfs the potential of every other energy resource on the planet. (Note that, in the following chart, the energy potential for renewables is annual energy potential, whereas the energy potential from non-renewables is for total known reserves.)



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