UNITED STATES—The United States has officially exceeded five million solar installations according to a press release from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), marking a significant achievement in the nation’s clean energy transition, and changing the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s rating from “more effort needed” to “on track” to meet Net Zero Emissions by 2050.

This milestone comes just eight years after the U.S. reached one million installations in 2016 — a milestone that took 40 years to achieve following the first grid-connected solar installation in 1973.

The residential sector plays a critical role in this solar boom, accounting for 97% of all solar installations in the U.S. In fact, the residential market alone currently displaces about 37 million metric tons of C02 per year, or about 10 trees worth per panel installed. Annually, American Solar is equivalent to planting 3.3 billion trees.

Currently, 7% of American homes have solar installations, a figure projected to grow to over 15% by 2030. According to SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper, the rate of installations is due to solar energy consistently delivering on its promise to lower electricity costs, enhance energy resilience, and create economic opportunities. Lowering electricity bills is a major driver for many Americans as increasing costs at the gas pump and the grocery line have many considering where they can make cuts.

On the global stage, solar photovoltaics (PV) accounted for three-quarters of renewable capacity additions in 2023 – this marked the largest absolute generation growth of all renewable technologies, surpassing wind for the first time in history.

Global uptake is due in part to the economic and policy support for solar energy continuing to increase. Despite rising commodity prices, utility-scale solar PV remains the least costly option for new electricity generation in most countries. Distributed solar PV, such as rooftop systems, is also set for faster growth due to higher retail electricity prices and increasing policy support. These factors contribute to the continuous growth in the economic attractiveness of PV, substantial development in the supply chain, and further acceleration of capacity growth, particularly in China, the U.S., the EU, and India. As a result of this global growth, the IEA’s solar PV’s tracking status was upgraded in 2023.

The environmental impact of solar energy is profound. By decreasing the use of fossil fuels, solar power helps reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere. Producing 100kwh of solar energy saves over 1,400 pounds (635 kg) of CO2 annually. Over its expected lifetime of 28 years, a solar panel can reduce CO2 emissions by over 100 tons. This significant reduction helps mitigate climate change and promotes sustainability, especially given the projected depletion of global oil reserves by 2052.

Surpassing five million solar installations is a landmark achievement for the U.S., reflecting a broad commitment to clean energy and shifting economics. This milestone aligns with broader U.S. and global goals to reduce carbon emissions and transition to renewable energy sources. Solar energy not only offers economic savings but also plays a crucial role in protecting the environment.

Check out the SEIA FiveMillionSolar Campaign or see if Solar is right for you and your home.