“The study illuminates the fact that solar, our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the US by 2035 and employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.
The study showed that other forms of renewables could complete a carbon-free US power grid. The DOE study estimates that wind power could make up 36% of the grid, nuclear could account for around 13%, hydroelectric could make up around 5-6%, and geothermal could account for the remaining 1%.
Solar currently accounts for about 3% of US electricity supply. The study shows the US would need to quadruple its yearly solar capacity additions by 2035, providing 1,000 gigawatts of power to ensure most of the electricity grid was powered by renewables. By 2050, solar energy could provide 1,600 gigawatts of energy to the US grid grid, which DOE projects would provide more electricity than is currently consumed in all residential and commercial buildings in the US today.
“It is now possible to envision—and chart a path toward—a future where solar provides 40% of the nation’s electricity by 2035,” Becca Jones-Albertus, the director of DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office said in a letter introducing the report. “This growth is necessary to limit the impacts of climate change, and our work to realize this vision could not be more urgent.”