The federal government is placing renewed focus on solar energy, which could come to provide as much as 40 percent of the nation’s electricity over the next 15 years, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
In order to reach that goal, however, an average of 30 gigawatts of solar capacity would need to be installed each year between now and 2025, followed by 60 gigawatts annually from 2025-2030 – four times the current rate, according to the Associated Press.
Whether or not the U.S. proves capable of meeting those benchmarks, the DOE anticipates a marked increase in solar installation even “without a concerted policy effort.” Citing lower costs for solar panels, the study said that “market forces and technology advances will drive significant deployment of solar and other clean energy technologies as well as substantial decarbonization.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, President Biden reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to combat climate change, which he described as “everybody’s crisis.”
“We can’t turn it back very much, but we can prevent it from getting worse,” Biden said. “We don’t have any more time.”
Solar power currently represents just over three percent of the country’s power supply, according to DOE officials. That number must increase at least fourfold to even begin to address the threat posed by the climate crisis.
To get there, the federal government will have to spend billions of dollars updating the electric grid nationwide. Other financial considerations include the cost of solar panels, which depends on size, local power prices, and whether they are purchased or leased, according to CNBC.