More new solar has been installed this year in the US than any other energy source

According to data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), more new solar was installed in the United States in the first eight months of 2023 than any other energy source — fossil fuel or renewable.

In its latest monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update” report (with data through August 31, 2023), FERC records that solar provided 8,980 MW of new domestic generating capacity — or 40.5% of the total. Solar capacity additions during the first two-thirds of this year were more than one-third (35.9%) larger than for the same period last year.

In the same eight-month period, wind provided an additional 2,761 MW (12.5%), hydropower reached 224 MW, geothermal added 44 MW and biomass added 30 MW, bringing the total mix of renewable energy sources to 54.3% of new editions. Natural gas added 8,949 MW, new nuclear added 1,100 MW, oil added 32 MW and waste heat added 31 MW. This is according to a review of the FERC data by the SUN DAY Campaign.

Solar’s strong growth seems likely to continue. FERC reports that “high-probability” additions of solar between September 2023 and August 2026 total 83,878-MW – an amount nearly four-times the forecast net “high-probability” additions for wind (21,453 MW) and over 20-times more than those projected for natural gas (4,037 MW).

And the numbers for solar may prove to be conservative. FERC also reports that there may actually be as much as 214,160 MW of new solar additions in the three-year pipeline.

If just the “high-probability” additions materialize, by late summer 2026, solar should account for more than one-eighth (12.9%) of the nation’s installed generating capacity. That would be more than either wind (12.4%) or hydropower (7.5%). Solar’s installed generating capacity by August 2026 would also surpass oil (2.6%) and nuclear power (7.5%), but fall just short of coal (13.8%). Natural gas would still comprise the largest share of installed generating capacity (41.7%), but the mix of all renewable sources would total 34.2% and be on track to further reduce natural gas’ lead.

“Without interruption, each month solar energy increases its share of the U.S.’s electrical generating capacity,” noted the SUN DAY Campaign’s executive director Ken Bossong. “Now, 50 years after the onset of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, solar has grown from virtually nothing to a major part of the nation’s energy mix.”

News item from SUN DAY

Post time: Oct-24-2023