When harnessing energy from the sun, photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electricity. The excess electricity can go back to your grid or be directed back to your energy company. The direct current from the sun is converted into alternating current for use in the home by the photovoltaic cells. Solar power in the United States includes utility scale solar power plants; and power that is generated by a local distribution of rooftop photovoltaics. By the time the year 2016 had ended, in the United States there had been installed 40 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity. This value was almost double in capacity from the previous year. In 2016, approximately 40% of all the new generation of electricity in the United States had come from solar power. New electricity generation from natural gas had only been 29% in 2016. Additionally, by 2015, the number of employees in the field of solar energy had surpassed the number of employees in oil and gas ; and also in the field of coal in the United States. The United States is one of the leading countries in utilizing energy generated from the sun. Near Las Vegas, in the California Mojave Desert is located the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.
Over the past eight years, the consumption of solar power has been growing at an average pace of 40% per year. Additionally, while the electricity generated from fossil fuels has been increasing in price, the price of solar energy has been steadily declining. It is predicted that 440,000 jobs will be created over the next eight years. While this is happening a $300 billion market for solar panels will be created.Another example of the incentives created for the expansion of solar power in the United States is that Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law that 50% of the electricity obtained by California’s utility must be from renewable energy sources by the end of 2030.