top of page

Meeting Surging Power Demand With Solar Energy

Updated: Jun 8

power demand

The United States is facing an unprecedented demand for power, with the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) and crypto-mining causing strains on the power grids. The surge in data center electricity demand is exposing the inadequacies of an aging power grid and leaving utilities and regulators scrambling for credible plans to expand the nation's electricity supply. However, renewable energy sources like solar energy could provide a solution to this problem. In this article, we will explore how solar energy can be deployed to meet the growing power demand from data centers and electric vehicles.

According to a report by The Washington Post, vast swathes of the United States are at risk of running short of power as data centers and clean-tech factories proliferate around the country, leaving utilities and regulators struggling to keep up. Northern Virginia, for example, needs the equivalent of several large-scale nuclear power plants to serve all the new data centers planned and under construction. Texas, where electricity shortages are already routine on hot summer days, faces a similar dilemma.

Factors Behind the Surge in Data Center Power Demand

The rapid development of AI and cloud computing infrastructure, along with the surge in clean-tech manufacturing and crypto mining, drive the skyrocketing demand for power. The industry projections show the centers are consuming a larger share of US electricity in the years that follow, as demand from residential and smaller commercial facilities stays relatively flat thanks to steadily increasing efficiencies in appliances and heating and cooling systems. Data center operators are seeking to hook up to regional electricity grids at the same time the Biden administration's industrial policy is luring companies to build factories in the United States at a pace not seen in decades.

In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that the demand for power consumption from data centers will increase from 4% to 6% by 2026. The IEA also reports that clean sources of generation are set to cover all of the world's additional electricity demand over the next three years, demonstrating the need for renewable energy sources and technologies to be accelerated.

Deploying Solar Energy to Meet Rising Power Demand

Solar power is one of the most promising renewable energy sources, with an ability to generate electricity on a large scale, making it suitable for data centers. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar power accounted for 53% of the new electric capacity added to the grid in 2023 and 45% in 2022. 

“At this pivotal moment, accelerating the deployment of renewable technologies, such as solar energy and electric vehicle infrastructure, is crucial,” says Patrick McCabe, Founder and COO of GreenLancer. “These innovations are key to curbing climate change and meeting the energy demands of advanced AI and electric transportation technologies. The great news is that technologies like solar energy are both economical and rapidly deployable. However, the complexity of permitting and interconnection processes can slow progress and increase costs."

Benefits of Solar Energy For Meeting Surging Power Demand

One of the biggest advantages of solar energy is its rapid deployment and cost-effectiveness. Solar power systems can be installed quickly and easily, and photovoltaic (PV) cells can be integrated into different structures to generate electricity. The use of solar energy also reduces the carbon footprint of data centers, as it is a clean energy source that produces zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Likewise, solar energy can help solve the problem of the aging power grid system. With solar panels installed on the roofs of data centers, electricity generation and consumption will be localized, reducing the pressure on the power grid. Additionally, the deployment of electric vehicles and solar energy infrastructure can help utilities and regulators plan and design a modernized grid infrastructure that prioritizes renewable energy sources.

Challenges To Rapid Solar Energy Deployment

There are numerous hurdles to solar energy industry growth, including the need for a trained workforce However, several organizations and policies are in place to streamline the deployment of solar power systems, including: 

There are numerous solar installation training programs designed to develop a well-trained workforce for the solar energy industry. The solar installer training programs include online courses, in-person workshops, and solar energy internships. 

Another potential challenge in deploying solar energy is the complexity of permitting and interconnection processes. Obtaining permits and navigating interconnection requirements can be time-consuming and entail significant paperwork. This complexity can create delays and increase costs for solar energy projects, hindering their swift deployment and adoption. 

“Permitting and interconnection requirements, while essential for safety, often become significant stumbling blocks for contractors, utilities, and building departments, leading to numerous solar projects being delayed or completely stopped,” explains McCabe. “Addressing these hurdles is vital for the progress of the solar energy sector, empowering solar contractors to expand their businesses effectively.”

GreenLancer was founded to accelerate the adoption of solar energy. We achieve this by removing solar energy engineering, design, permitting, and logistical challenges. GreenLancer is the only online marketplace for solar contractors to select expert partners to fill gaps within their engineering, procurement, construction, and maintenance processes.

Create an account for free or complete the form below to learn more about joining the GreenLancer marketplace.


bottom of page