Missouri’s biggest solar gains came in commercial installations, but residential and utility-scale installations increased, too.
WASHINGTON, DC - Showing strong growth over the previous year, Missouri nearly tripled its amount of installed solar capacity in 2014, according to the recently-released U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review. What's more, Missouri also had more than half, 55 percent, of its new electrical capacity last year come from solar energy.
In 2014, Missouri added 73 megawatts (MW) of solar electric capacity, bringing its total to 111 MW. That's enough clean, affordable energy to power more than 12,000 homes. The report went on to point out that Missouri's biggest solar gains came in commercial installations, but residential and utility-scale installations increased, too. Of the new capacity added, 37 MW were commercial, 20 MW were residential and 16 MW were utility scale. Together, these installations represented a $187 million investment across Missouri - a 63 percent increase over the previous year.
Missouri also ranks #2 in the nation in the number of professional sports facilities with installed solar systems. Among Major League Baseball teams, both the Royals and Cardinals have gone solar, while the Rams and Chiefs are among NFL teams to do so.
"To put the state's solar growth in some context, the 111 MW of solar PV installed today in Missouri is nearly as much as the entire country had installed by 2004. And frankly, the state is just scratching the surface of its enormous potential," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). "Looking forward, we expect 2015 to be another good year for new PV installations across the state."
Today, there are nearly 100 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Missouri, employing more than 2,500 people. Notable Missouri solar projects include:
* Butler Solar Farm was completed in 2014 by developer MC Power. This photovoltaic (PV) project has the capacity to generate 3.2 MW of electricity - enough to power more than 300 Missouri homes.
* At 5.7 MW, O'Fallon Renewable Energy Center is among the largest solar installations in Missouri. Completed in 2014 by MC Industrial, this PV project has enough electric capacity to power more than 600 homes.
* Anheuser-Busch has installed solar systems at its corporate office in St. Louis and its facility in Bridgeton, MO.
In addition to a growing commercial sector, the Missouri residential market also showed big gains last year, with installed system prices dropping by 8 percent - and down a total of 49 percent since 2010. Nationwide, the U.S. residential market added 1.2 GW of installed capacity in 2014, marking the first time that this growing sector surpassed 1 GW of clean, affordable solar. Residential also continues to be the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S., with 2014 marking three consecutive years of greater than 50 percent annual growth.
"Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide - more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined - and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy," Resch added. "This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. and Missouri economies, as well as for our environment."