The Momentum of Solar Power

2021 was a record-breaking year for solar installations. In the U.S., 19 percent more solar production was installed than in 2020, and 77 percent more than in 2019. This is just one of the things that demonstrates how solar is an industry that’s progressing quickly, and which shows no signs of slowing down. There are several factors driving that momentum.

Fundamental Improvements

  • On the technology side of things, solar is always improving. Over the past five years, the efficiency of solar panel energy production has increased, and a recent test has shown that solar equipment is getting more reliable by almost every metric.
  • Equipment has also been developed to be better suited to new environments. You might think of solar panels as taking up a ton of space in a field or desert, but new and innovative configurations allow for solar installations anywhere, including urban environments, like this recent project in The City of White Plains, New York.
  • With all these improvements, costs have actually decreased dramatically for PV installations over the past decade, meaning that solar tech has gotten both better and cheaper.
Nine-site, 6.8 megawatt (MW) community solar portfolio, the largest municipal solar energy deployment in Westchester County, New York.

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The Growth of Storage

Along with energy production, energy storage is also advancing. Batteries are getting better, with more capacity and increasing in efficiency. There’s already been meaningful progress in quality and cost, and the best is yet to come as science and regulation both favor more adoption of renewable energy storage paired with solar generation.

DSD Schenectady County, NY Ground Storage 2500kW10000 kWh

Access to Financing

Financing for solar energy systems is one of the major improvements over the past several years; it’s now extremely flexible, allowing for more solar installations than ever. DSD has taken financing to a new level; we’ve raised more than a billion dollars to bring renewable energy projects of all kinds to life. The economics of solar projects are even more favorable, meaning that a growing number of companies and municipalities can take advantage.

DSD has raised more than a billion dollars to bring renewable projects of all kinds to life.

 

Federal and Local Incentives

Policy is also becoming more favorable to solar power. On the federal level, the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act includes several provisions to help move the United States towards clean energy by spurring innovation; offering credits and rebates for transitioning to solar power; and creating excellent jobs in the industry. This bill is a gigantic step towards the deployment of more solar and energy storage in the years to come.

Local policies are moving in the direction of solar energy as well, with programs like net metering, Community Solar, and property tax exemptions popping up all over the country.

Combined, these policy initiatives have created an environment friendly to solar power and will allow organizations of all sizes to meet their clean energy goals for years to come.

DSD LG Canopy and Rooftop

DSD’s rooftop solar array at LG headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Capitalizing on this Momentum

Solar is increasingly meeting real-world energy and financial needs. As of 2020, 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies had set a climate or energy-related commitment. This is due, in part, to the factors listed above — configuration improvements, greater energy reliability, more affordable access — along with, of course, guaranteed energy-cost reductions.

2021 saw record capital put into in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) efforts, and 2022 has already seen billions more flow toward various ESG investments. Renewable energy adoption allows organizations to capitalize on all these dimensions and needs in one motion.

Full disclosure: In the past three years, DSD has increased its number of solar projects from 125 to 345 — jumping from 126 MW of developed and deployed capacity to 387 MW — while our staff has grown from 60 to nearly 190 employees. So we can vouch, firsthand, for the momentum solar power.

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