Business is booming for renewable energy.  More than 61% of all new electricity capacity installations are from renewables according to data from NREL’s “2013 Renewable Energy Data Book.” On a global level, renewable energy use more than doubled between 2000 and 2013. Fossil fuels are still the most dominant source of energy, but all sources of renewables are growing rapidly, with a steady 4.8% increase in installed energy capacity units every year since 2000. Renewables have been picking up around the US and investments remain strong.

Venture capital and private equity worldwide in renewables went from $1.4 billion in 2004 to $4.4 billion in 2013 with the highest percentage being placed in solar. Between 2000 and 2013, solar energy grew almost 68% internationally. Around the world the cumulative number of new renewable energy capacity installations shot up 108% from 2000 to 2013.  

People are interested in renewables technology and there’s no sign that it’s going to stop in the near future.

GreenTechMedia and the Solar Energy Industries Association highlight the rise of solar in particular in their Solar Market Index for the third quarter of 2014. Their quarterly report gathers information from almost 200 different utilities, state agencies, installers, and manufacturers to present the trends in the US. They determined that solar is still growing in spite of the drop in oil prices. They report that a new solar system is being installed every 2.5 minutes and at this pace, we’re set to hit over 1 million cumulative installations by 2016. Here’s more of what they found:

  • Solar was 36% of all new energy generating capacity in Q3 2014
  • Residential solar PV expected to outpace non-residential in 2014
  • Residential rooftop PV has grown from 50,000 in 2011 to 200,000 in 2014, a four-fold jump
  • Costs for residential PV decreased by 3.8% and 5% for commercial PV

The Solar Market Index points out a couple things that can influence the market for solar energy, including the expiration of the renewable energy tax credit at the end of 2016. This would cut the commercial credit from 30% down to 10%, with the residential credit going to 0%. However, as states make plans to meet EPA standards for CO2 emissions, there will be a wealth of opportunities for solar to shine.

Read the full NREL report here and the executive summary for the US Solar Market Index here.