In encouraging news for the green energy and green building communities, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that solar power production in the US has increased over 100 percent since Sept. 2013. According to the agency's report, 12,303 gigawatt hours of energy were produced by US solar power technologies in Sept. 2014, more than doubling the figure of 6,048 gigawatt hours in Sept. 2013.
The 12,303 GWh sent to the grid by solar technology is enough to power about 1.5 million average American homes. The total share of the energy market occupied by solar is relatively small compared to other renewable technologies — it represents about 0.4 percent of total US energy production, whereas all renewable technologies combined have taken over about 13 percent of the market.
However, according to environmental advocates, this is already significant because as recently as 2008, solar energy was much less popular and barely contributed anything to the power mix. Its sharp gains represent a hopeful possibility for the future of solar as the country looks toward renewable energy to decrease carbon emissions in an increasingly warming world. The founder of solar power company SunEdison, Jigar Shah, told NBC: "Given the growth of solar over the last few years, getting to 10 percent of U.S. electricity from solar should happen far sooner than 2030."
Groups like Environment America are also pushing for 10 percent of US energy to come from solar within the next 15 years, noting that in order to accomplish this goal, solar production would only have to increase by 22 percent annually, which is much more slowly than it has been expanding in the past few years.