A new report just confirmed what green energy activists have been saying for some time – that solar (among other clean, non-petro based energies) can fuel the world.

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The U.S. just shattered all previous photovoltaic installation records, with 4,143 megawatts of solar PV installed in just the last quarter of 2016. That’s a new megawatt of solar energy being installed ever 32 minutes. As if that weren’t hopeful enough news to break our dependence on oil, the pace of solar installations is still picking up. In 2017, solar is expected to break records again.

With an 88 percent growth rate for solar installations in the U.S. in 2015, and the pace of installation showing no signs of stopping, there is really no need for oil and gas companies to keep tearing up our land, harming natural ecosystems, and poisoning our water. The solar industry is also providing jobs, and helping to change environmental degradation.

Tom Kimbis, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s interim president states,

“Coming off our largest quarter ever and with an extremely impressive pipeline ahead, it’s safe to say the state of the solar industry here in America is strong. The solar market now enjoys an economically winning hand that pays off both financially and environmentally, and American taxpayers have noticed. With a 90 percent favorability rating and 209,000+ jobs, the U.S. solar industry has proven that when you combine smart policies with smart 21st century technology, consumers and businesses both benefit.”

With oil costs constantly shifting too within a rigged market, it is also great news that solar is about to get ridiculously cheap. The cost of installing solar panels on rooftops is expected to drop 60 percent, and solar energy is expected to be the cheapest source in many countries over the next 15 years, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

In Countries like Mexico, they are already close to producing three cent per kilowatt hour solar energy.

Solar technology improvements could help the cost continue to fall, too. Just one emerging technology is the perovskite solar cell which has the potential to be just as efficient but cheaper than traditional silicon solar cells. Perovskite solar cells are named for their crystalline structure – sometimes made of calcium titanium, but other materials can have similar structures and be referred to as perovskites, also.

MIT scientists have also already also developed nano-solar cells that are 1,000 times more efficient than traditional solar cells. By stacking materials that are just one molecule thick, these solar cells are 20-50 times thinner than the thinnest solar cell conventionally manufactured.

If we truly can power the entire world with less than one percent of the sun in the Sahara, imagine what energy freedom awaits us.

Image credit: National Geographic, Featured image: source