The US is well within reach of a goal of sourcing 10% of its electricity needs from solar within 15 years, according to a coalition of environmental groups in the US.

A study by Environment America Research & Policy Center said that even if solar in the US grew at only a third the rate at which it has in the past three years, it would reach 10% of the national energy mix by 2030. 

“We can get to 10% solar by 2030 if we just keep our foot on the accelerator,” said Rob Sargent, energy programme director for Environment America and co-author of the report. “That’s a small fraction of what’s possible, but it will make a big difference in the quality of our lives and our children’s future.”

The report said the US had the potential to produce more than 100 times the power it needs annually from solar PV and CSP installations.

But even the more moderate target of 10% by 2030 would be achievable with only modest growth on today’s installed base – just 22% a year compared to the 77% of annual growth that has been achieved in the past three years, according to the report.

“Given the growth of solar over the last few years, getting to 10% of US electricity from solar should happen far sooner than 2030,” said solar industry pioneer, Jigar Shah.

“When it comes to solar energy, the sky’s the limit,” said Sargent. “Getting to 10% solar is the just the first step to a future powered entirely by pollution-free energy.”