According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, in 2015 a total of 7.3 GW of solar was installed in the U.S. This is a huge amount of energy, and to truly understand its significance it needs to be further explained. Assuming the average American home would need about 10 kW of installed solar to offset their entire electrical use, 7.3 GW (or 7,300,000 kW) of installed solar would provide enough electricity to power 730,000 American homes.
For years the amount of installed solar energy has increased, but since 2010 these increases have truly been monumental. Cumulative U.S. solar PV installations have now topped 25 GW – a twelve-fold increase from 2 GW in 2010. Additionally, for the very first time installed solar has beat out natural gas capacity additions. In 2015, solar supplied 29.5% of all new electric generating capacity in the U.S.
Minnesota has been equally busy installing solar. The Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association expects Minnesota’s installed solar capacity to go from 25 MW total of mostly rooftop solar at the end of 2015 to 420 MW by the end of 2016. They expect much of this increase to come from installed Community Solar Gardens. However, Minnesota is only ranked 25th of the 50 states for most solar installed. California, North Carolina, and Nevada were the top three states this year respectively.