U.S. Electrical Generation By Solar Up 30% Over Last Year
Renewable energy sources – solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydropower – accounted for nearly 18.0% of net domestic electrical generation during the first three quarters of this year, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of newly released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
In addition, the latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through Sept. 30) reveals that solar and wind both showed strong growth: Compared to the first nine months of 2017, utility-scale solar expanded by 30.3%, and wind grew by 14.5%. The growth in total solar – including distributed small-scale solar PV – was 28.2%, comprising a 30.3% increase in utility-scale solar and a 23.6% increase in small-scale solar.
Combined, wind and solar accounted for almost 9.0% of the nation’s electrical generation (wind at 6.4% and solar at 2.4%) and nearly half (49.7%) of the total from all renewable energy sources, according to the data.
Modest increases were also reported by EIA for geothermal and biomass: 5.4% and 1.5%, respectively. Taken together, non-hydro renewables, including distributed solar, grew by 14.9%. However, a 5.1% drop in hydropower output netted an increase of only 6.0% in electrical generation by all renewables in the first three quarters of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, says SUN DAY.
Notwithstanding its lower production, hydropower remained the leading source of renewable electricity: It accounted for 7.05% of total electrical generation, followed by wind (6.41%), solar (2.42%), biomass (1.48%) and geothermal (0.39%).