Skip to main content

The number of solar panel installations in the US recently surpassed the 5 million threshold. Half of those installations were completed within the past four years, exhibiting how quickly solar capacity has scaled in just the past few years. Installations are expected to double by the end of the decade, but that pace could potentially be boosted significantly by the emergence of generative AI applications and the expanding footprint of data centers powering them.

Solar power backed the vast majority of new US energy capacity added last quarter, suggesting that an increased pace of grid expansion will also facilitate an uptick in solar installations. More of the panels installed on American soil are coming from domestic firms than in years past, which has recently boosted a US-based panel manufacturer to the the top spot among its global peers for the first time in six years.

Related ETFs and Stocks: Invesco Solar ETF (TAN), iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN), First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)

Per data collected by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie, it took the US four decades – spanning the period from 1973 to 2016 – to reach one million solar panel installations nationwide. However, quintupling that figure and reaching the 5 million threshold took just eight years, exhibiting the exponential growth of American renewable power capacity. This means that over half of all operating solar installations in the US were added in the period since 2020.

Doubling the current level of installations by adding the next five million panels is expected to be completed by the end of this decade. However, it is possible that pace could be supercharged by a sudden uptick in AI adoption and the power required to scale machine learning applications. In a recent Intelligence Briefing, MRP recently noted that the quickening adoption of generative AI has flipped the script for American power providers who had dealt with a decade-and-a-half of slowing growth in electricity consumption until very recently. Other emerging sources of increasingly hungry US power demand, however, will come from the automotive, manufacturing, and digital asset sectors.

Since 2004, industrial use of electricity has not exceeded an estimate of…

To read the complete Intelligence Briefing, current All-Access clients, SIGN IN

All-Access clients receive the full-spectrum of MRP’s research, including daily investment insights and unlimited use of our online research archive. For a free trial of MRP’s All-Access membership, or to save 50% on your first year by signing up now, CLICK HERE