Solar Maintains its Lead as Renewables Provide 99% of New U.S. Generating Capacity in January


A new report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission shows that renewables provided 99% of all new U.S. electrical generating capacity in January. Solar led the pack with 287 MW of new generating capacity installed.




Solar is on a roll. It still leads the way as renewables continue providing large portions of new electrical generating capacity in the U.S.


Last year, we reported that renewables accounted for 100% of all new generating capacity in November, following 99% in October. At the time, we noted that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) was projecting that renewable sources would provide only a 16% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2040 — even though EIA’s own data showed that renewables were already providing 14.2% of the nation’s electrical generation as of June 30 last year.


By then, it was clear that renewables were far outpacing EIA’s conservative estimates. And the numbers that came in for 2014 bore that out. In 2013, renewables, with solar at the forefront, accounted for 37% of all new generating capacity in the country.


According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the trend is continuing. This January, non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) accounted for more than 99% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed for a total of 325 MW.


Solar once again led the way, with 13 new “units,” or 287 MW, followed by geothermal steam at 30 MW. Biomass added 3 MW and wind 4 MW. The remaining 1 MW is listed as “other.”


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Renewable energy sources now account for 16.03% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity, with 1.36% being solar.


While this is still a small number, it’s a number that’s getting bigger. The percentages for new renewables capacity in recent months are notably higher than the percentage for the past year. Let’s hope that’s a trend that continues.