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Expand chart
Reproduced from Barbose, et. al, 2019, "Tracking the Sun"; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new Energy Department report lays out how solar PV systems are getting bigger and better over time.

Why it matters: The Tracking the Sun report underscores how an important part of solar's growth and evolution isn't just the increasing number of systems, but also their design and scale.

What they did: The annual Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analysis explores distributed systems — the stuff installed at homes and businesses, as opposed to centralized utility-scale projects.

Where it stands: One conclusion is that system sizes have been growing and getting more efficient. In the residential sector, the median system has nearly tripled this century to 6.4 kilowatts as of last year.

  • "Those trends partly reflect increasing module efficiencies, as many residential systems are space-constrained based on available roof area," they note.

In the commercial and industrial space, the median system went from 7 kilowatts in 2000 to 47 kilowatts in 2018.

  • Larger systems have become more common as "a broader set of non-residential customers become comfortable with the technology and as developers and investors seek out projects offering higher returns."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.