Solar, wind expanding rapidly in US market


From pv magazine USA

In a year that has witnessed strong growth of renewable generation and declines in fossil-fuel production, the new edition of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Electric Power Monthly report confirms that solar and wind are the fastest growing sources of U.S. electricity.

In the month of July, solar, including distributed generation, accounted for nearly 3.5% of the nation’s total energy generation, up nearly 20% from 2.8% in July 2019. In the  January-July 2020 period, solar accounted for nearly 3.4% of the country’s generation, up 22.2% from the 2019 year-to-date mark of 2.6%.

It should be noted that these figures only factor in solar PV generation. Solar thermal generation provided modest additions.

When all renewable energy sources are taken into account, clean energy made up 9.5% of all electricity generation in July, excluding hydroelectric, and 16% with hydroelectric included. On the year, non-hydro renewables provided 13% of all generation, up from 11% in 2019. Renewables with hydroelectric provided 21.2% of total electrical output, up from 19.2% a year ago.

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This breakout year for renewables was underscored by the month of May, where renewable resources reached an all-time high share of the country’s electricity generation at 25.3%. These gains have been driven by the growth of wind and solar.

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Hydropower is down 2% on the year, geothermal is down 2.9%, biomass is down 5.6%, and biofuels is down 14.5%. Yet as hard as some of those renewable generation sources have fallen, no fuel type has had a harder fall than coal.

Renewables have produced almost one-fifth more electricity than coal through July, sitting at 19.6%. On its own, electrical generation by coal is 27.5% lower than it was through this point last year and has accounted for just 17.8% of the nation’s total. And while not as stark as coal, renewables have generated 6.7% more electricity than nuclear power, which fell 1.7% over the first seven months of 2020.

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