Over the past several years solar energy has continually gained more momentum than ever before. With 2014 already showing record numbers in growth industry wide, the next couple of years are estimated to be even more prolific in scope. The U.S Energy Information Administration expects growth both from the private consumer installation side of things, as well as a 75% increase of utility-scale solar capacity from 2015 to the end of 2016. With such explosive growth and no signs of slowing down it’s coming time to analyze the potential economic impact that a mass movement towards solar power would have on the United States as a whole. Although these solar installations are primarily concentrated in a few states the effects of such a large boom in an industry like solar energy can have lasting effects on the country as a whole.
One of the primary areas where solar energy’s economic potential truly shines is its ability to decrease American dependency on foreign oil. Even with the amount of foreign oil the United States relies on steadily decreasing over the years, nearly 30% of all oil consumed in this country comes from foreign sources. This reliance has proven in the past to affect the nature of American politics as individual economic interests in the foreign sector tend to bleed into the national conversation through various lobbying tactics. By moving closer to a system that relies only on the sun’s rays for energy not only will these controlling interests begin to dissolve but more revenue will be kept on this side of the globe stimulating our own economy instead of an oil providing nations. The economy will also be bolstered by the mass influx of job opportunities provided by an institutional adoption of solar energy as more and more infrastructure is transferred to solar power, things such as solar roadways promise to provide a large amount of jobs for Americans across the country provided the technology is adopted on a statewide, and hopefully nationwide, scale.
Beyond the more macro examples of solar power’s effect on our economy it also has the potential to positively affect economies on a micro scale in a more local sense. One of the primary detriments to solar from a consumer standpoint has historically been the high cost of install of the solar system itself. Thankfully PV technology has reached a level at which solar system installations have become more affordable than ever. This lower entry cost coupled with available solar rebates and incentives as well as the yearly savings that consumers will see after cutting the cord with the local city electrical grid equates to a wealthier population that will ideally funnel those funds that would previously be spent on the electric bill back into the local economy.
Considering these factors it becomes abundantly clear that nationwide adoption of solar energy and solar systems will event in a wealthier, and therefore more content, population as well as a much needed boost to both local and the national economy.
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