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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians

Solar energy helps provide more than 263,000 jobs across the U.S., according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
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Solar energy helps provide more than 263,000 jobs across the U.S., according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Missouri homes and businesses have installed enough solar energy to power 68,000 homes each year.

A new report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association showed more than half of all solar installations in the United States have come online since 2020, with more than 25% installed since the Inflation Reduction Act passed almost two years ago.

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the association, noted for Missouri farmers and rural residents, the most significant expense is power, needed for pumps, heating grow houses and running equipment.

"They're not paying for the sunshine," Ross Hopper pointed out. "And so, when they install solar to run their pump, or when they install solar on top of a chicken house, it saves an incredible amount of money because they are now using the sun to energize their system."

The report noted in 2012, only California had more than 25,000 solar systems installed. Today, 23 states and territories can make that claim, and 11 have surpassed 100,000 solar installations. More than 38,000 are in Missouri, which ranks 34th in the nation.

Ross Hopper emphasized not only is the growth in solar energy happening quickly, but it is sustained and she predicts it will continue to be.

"It took 40 years for the United States to install a million solar projects, and then it only took eight years to get to 5 million, and that is indicative of the rapid growth," Ross Hopper stressed. "We think it'll only take six years to get to 10 million."

She added the solar industry supports the careers of about 2,900 Missourians and has invested $1.6 billion in the state's economy.

The Missouri Public News Service is a partner with KRCU Public Radio.

Born and raised in Canada to an early Pakistani immigrant family, Farah Siddiqi was naturally drawn to the larger purpose of making connections and communicating for public reform. She moved to America in 2000 spending most of her time in California and Massachusetts. She has also had the opportunity to live abroad and travel to over 20 countries.