The New Solar+ Decade Roadmap: 30% by 2030
This roadmap offers a vision for the radical transformation and decarbonization of the U.S. electricity system. It articulates where the solar industry stands today, establishes new goals for the next decade and outlines the steps we must take to get where we want to go. The pages that follow lay out how the solar industry will expand exponentially from comprising 3.7% of the U.S. electricity mix today to 30% of all electricity generation by 2030. This will put solar on pace to provide essential reliability services, deploy with storage for resilient community infrastructure and fully decarbonize the electric grid by 2035.
When SEIA established the original Solar+ Decade goal (20% of generation by 2030) in 2019, it was seen as an ambitious but achievable goal. In light of historic changes – shifting political dynamics, increased urgency to address climate change and changes in market dynamics – the potential for solar growth has only increased. However, this transformation requires a collaborative, well-funded effort led by a strong national trade association.
We have identified four pillars of our strategy to reach 30% by 2030 through radical market transformation:
- We must work constructively with other industries and organizations that share our vision. While our goal is predicated on solar penetration, we envision an electricity portfolio comprised of multiple clean energy sources and technologies. Our ethos must be “aggressive collaboration.” We must be impactful and unabashed as we work with other stakeholders to advance storage, transmission and distribution infrastructure, wind energy and any number of other technologies that will advance the solar vision and transform energy markets.
- There are a number of market accelerators that can increase solar energy adoption. Capitalizing on these accelerators, including energy storage deployment, electrification of thermal loads and transportation and carbon reduction goals, will be critical to meeting our 2030 goal.
- Market levers and policy drivers will play central roles in whether or not the solar industry reaches its destination. Climate policy, federal tax policy, state net energy metering rules, strong industrial policy and manufacturing investments, building codes and renewable portfolio standards all drive solar energy growth. Other factors include regional energy market rules, access to financing and opportunities to further reduce costs.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we must continue to manage our growth. Our industry must build a robust and ethical domestic supply chain, earn a social license to operate by being good stewards of the land, proactively address recycling and end-of-life management, modernize the grid to facilitate more solar deployment, ensure smart trade policy, protect customers and develop a diverse customer base and workforce, among many other priorities.
Why set this goal of 30% by 2030 and articulate a vision of radical market transformation? Because, when we achieve this goal, we will have deployed hundreds of billions of dollars in investment and created hundreds of thousands of American jobs. We will reduce carbon emissions by hundreds of millions of tons and make a significant contribution to addressing climate change. And we will increase prosperity for all Americans by creating economic opportunity and clean abundant electricity for all of our communities.
Since establishing the original Solar+ Decade Roadmap in 2019, SEIA and the industry have made considerable progress on several of the actions identified to advance our vision. As we revise and update this 2030 roadmap, we are also re-evaluating the required next steps in collaboration with industry leaders and external partners. In March 2022, we will be releasing a compendium to this Roadmap that articulates the actions that SEIA, our members, and actors throughout the clean energy economy must take in the coming years to realize the 30x30 vision.
SEIA is well-positioned to lead this radical move to a clean energy economy.. However, the solar industry writ large will need to undergo many changes. It will be a transformative and prosperous journey for those in the solar industry today, and the thousands of new companies and hundreds of thousands of workers who will join us on the road ahead.