Solar developers installed a record 14.6 gigawatt in the U.S. last year, almost double the total from 2015 and enough to make photovoltaic panels the largest source of new electric capacity for the first time.

Solar panels on rooftops and fields accounted for 39 percent of new generation last year, according to a report Wednesday from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. That beat the 29 percent contribution from natural gas and 26 percent from wind.

The surge is further evidence that solar power has become an important part of the U.S. energy mix, even as President Donald Trump pushes for wider use of fossil fuels. The solar industry employs 260,000 people and accounted for 2 percent of all new U.S. jobs last year, and Republican and Democratic governors from 20 states sent the White House a letter Monday saying that clean energy is an important economic driver.

Share of New U.S Capacity

“What these numbers tell you is that the solar industry is a force to be reckoned with,” Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Solar’s economically winning hand is generating strong growth across all market segments.”

Total installations surged 95 percent from 2015, led by large fields of solar arrays, which generally cost less than putting panels on rooftops. Utility-scale development increased 145 percent last year, the most in the industry, as costs became increasingly competitive with power produced from gas, according to the report.

Smaller-scale solar also increased, with residential rooftops up 19 percent and community solar projects exceeding 200 megawatts.

Solar Power Surge Graph

That growth will continue, with total installed capacity in the U.S. expected to reach 105 gigawatts by 2021, up from about 38 gigawatts today, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Solar is also reaching new areas, according to Justin Baca, SEIA’s vice president of markets & research. Installations grew last year in 31 of the 40 state markets that SEIA tracks, including areas that haven’t traditionally been solar strongholds such as Alabama.


About HCS Renewable

We focus on the North American Solar Industry with an emphasis on general contractors, subcontractors and facilities managers working on energy, commercial, industrial, residential and institutional project development.

As experts in helping renewable energy contractors with staff augmentation, our experience and resources will help you ramp up your solar power construction field workforce quickly.

Our solar energy staffing experts understand your demand for proven industrial experience in every tradesperson we provide you, which is why we have been recruiting and hiring only the best people, matching them to your specific project needs. And if the tradespeople aren’t already located near your site, we’ll find local solutions or deploy travelers, no matter where you need them.

HCS Renewable Energy employs construction and skilled trade crews nationwide, these experienced professionals have supported approximately 553MW of large-scale solar projects throughout North America since 2015. HCS Renewable has the following trade professionals ready to work….

  • Laborers/Installation Crews
  • Site Superintendents/Foreman
  • Journeyman Electricians
  • Project Safety Managers/Coordinators
  • Logistics Personnel
  • Equipment Operators/PD 10
  • Project Managers
  • High Voltage Electricians
  • Project Engineers
  • Pole/Civil Crews
  • Office Managers/Onsite Administration
  • Quality Assurance/Quality Control Personnel

Get more information on our solar staffing services by contacting HCS Renewable Energy, LLC. We’re available 24/7 and will customize a solution for your skilled trades staffing needs.

Attention Solar Professionals
HCS projects located in California, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Minnesota, New York, Georgia, Florida and Texas requiring 350-450 Experienced Solar Professionals start over the next 90 days…Let’s talk!

For immediate consideration, please send resume along with compensation and per diem requirements to: klilly@hcsrenewable.com.

List Utility-Commercial Solar Project experience along with references. MUST have Solar Experience.