Solar leads pack in new US generation capacity


With the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) annnouncing more than 99% of domestic electrical generating capacity installed in the U.S. last month was from renewable sources, solar topped the pile.

FERC announced on Friday, solar dominated the new electric energy capacity mix in January with 13 new units accounting for 287 MW of the 324 MW installed.

That means solar dwarfed the second highest source of new electric generation capacity in the U.S. with three new geothermal steam units boasting 30 MW.

Three biomass facilities added 3 MW to the mix and a wind installation a further 1 MW with FERC’s office of energy projects classifying the remaining 1 MW as ‘other’ in its latest Energy Infrastructure Update report.

If the figures represent encouraging news for the U.S. solar industry, the scale of the mountain to be climbed by renewables is represented by the latest figures for total electric generation capacity in the country.

Despite huge advances, solar still accounts for just 0.7% of the total energy mix, lagging behind wind – with 5.2% of the total figure – and even biomass, with 1.36%.

With geothermal steam providing 0.33% of the mix, nuclear adds up to 9.26% of the U.S.’ electrical generating capacity with oil providing a further 4.04%.