America has reached the milestone of one million solar systems installed nationwide. But what is even more remarkable is what that looks like in communities across the country, and what comes next.
It took us forty years to get to one million solar systems around the country, but it will only take us two years to get that next one million systems. Just two years. That's the prowess of American ingenuity and the creativity of entrepreneurs at work. And it's the appetite Americans have for taking control of their energy future with clean and local renewable sources.
Those one million installations today generate enough electricity to power more than 5.5 million American homes. With continued growth in solar, America will generate enough electricity to power 20 million homes by 2020.
Right now a solar system is installed by American workers every 2.5 minutes. And with more than 200,000 solar workers out in the field today, in jobs that can't be exported overseas, that pace is only going to increase in the coming years. As the American economy has faltered and sputtered back to life, solar jobs keep growing far outpacing the economy at large.
Just as impressive as getting to two million systems in the next two years are the individual solar stories at the community level, from rooftop to backyard to industrial park, happening all around the country.
Take, for example, just a few solar-powered customers from our relatively small manufacturing and development company:
These customers could now make a full solar-powered breakfast from our business customers, with fresh solar-raised eggs from Jericho Settlers Farm, a side of ham or portion of bacon from Vermont Smoke & Cure, cider from Champlain Orchards, and some Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks-produced, solar-powered maple syrup over your soon-to-be solar-powered Ren Hen Baking Company-baked French toast.
Sounds pretty good, right? And on top of that, each of those customers is saving money, making their businesses more financially stable and marketable to the public, and running their businesses by their environmental values.
But why stop at breakfast? A full breakfast is the perfect fuel to hit the gym and hop on a Concept II rowing machine, a solar-powered world leader in exercise equipment. You might then grab some books over at the solar-powered libraries of Middlebury or Sterling Colleges, followed by a stop by Gardener's Supply for some lawn care supplies offered nationwide with the power of the sun.
After your yardwork is complete, you'd certainly owe yourself a drink of some world-renowned Heady Topper from the Alchemist Brewery or some Woodchuck Hard Cider from their local cidery--both solar-powered bevs.
This is the future of a solar-powered America.
And this is just one company, and just thirteen systems of one million in a nationwide industry of entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and installers, and everything in between. Just think what two million will look like. And then four.
Andrew Savage is the chief strategy officer of AllEarth Renewables and an elected member of the board of the Solar Energy Industry Association.