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US solar industry: Solar installations will quadruple by 2030

If you own land in Texas, you should know that the solar industry is actively seeking locations for solar arrays. It’s a fact that could be potentially lucrative for you if you are interested in hosting a site.

Indeed, the industry itself says that it plans to quadruple solar installations by 2030, which would produce sufficient electricity to power about 40% of all U.S. households.

The U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) made this announcement recently, citing a report jointly issued with the energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie.

As of now, 100 gigawatts of capacity have already been installed in the U.S., according to SEIA. In the next 10 years, the industry plans to install 324 gigawatts of capacity – more than three times the existing capacity. That represents enough electricity to power 60 million homes.

Currently, only 3% of electricity in the U.S. is generated by solar power. SEIA projects this will rise to 20% in the next decade. Last year, solar installations grew by 43% to 19.2 gigawatts, which was a record for the industry.

Most of the projects are utility scale, as opposed to home roof installations. Still, residential installations ended 2020 up 11% at a record 3.1 gigawatts.

Disruption, demand and tax credits

In the utility-scale market, there were only minor disruptions from pandemic-related shutdowns, although residential projects did see some scale-back in the second quarter of last year. Likewise, solar power performed at least as well as other types of power generation during the February 2021 winter storm, although some blamed to power outages on renewable energy.

SEIA’s outlook for the solar sector reflects robust demand from utilities and companies that are interested in meeting goals for greenhouse gas reduction. It also reflects declining technology costs in the utility-scale and residential markets.

In late 2020, Congress extended a 26% tax credit to reduce the cost of solar arrays. If the country is to meet its greenhouse gas goals and prevent the worst of climate change’s effects on the environment, however, SEIA says we will need further tax incentives and for the federal government to lift tariffs on solar panels manufactured abroad.

“We need policy in all of those areas so that we can not just grow on the path that we’re on, but accelerate that growth,” said SEIA’s president.

Don’t sign a solar lease without an attorney

There is a lot of opportunity in solar power, and you can feel good about putting your land to such a use. However, there are pitfalls for the unwary.

Protect your rights and protect your land by having the solar company’s lease reviewed by your own, experienced lawyer. The lease they are proposing isn’t written to protect your interests but theirs. Make sure anything you sign is geared toward protecting your interests.