The U.S. is expected to install 26 gigawatts of new electric generation in the U.S.—the majority of it, 16.3 gigawatts, will come from renewable energy and the majority of that, 9.5 gigawatts, will come from solar power. As exciting, none of the anticipated new generation will come from coal. That’s according to new research from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), reported in its Today in Energy series.
“Planned utility-scale solar additions total 9.5 GW in 2016, the most of any single energy source,” EIA said. “This level of additions is substantially higher than the 3.1 GW of solar added in 2015 and would be more than the total solar installations for the past three years combined (9.4 GW during 2013-15).”
That’s even higher than the preliminary findings from the annual U.S. Solar Market Insight report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The organizations will release the full report on March 9. That report found that the U.S. installed 7.3 gigawatts of utility-scale solar power in 2015.
EIA pointed out that the figures don’t reflect the amount of residential and distributed solar expected to be installed in 2016. It is, however, making up a significant portion of new solar generation as well. The EIA reported that in 2015, 8.4 gigawatts of distributed solar photovoltaic capacity was added. If the same amount or more is added it will make solar a much larger portion of the new electric generation added throughout the country.
Wind will also consist of a fair portion of new electric generation installed in 2016, according to the report—though it is down from last year. “Additions of wind capacity are expected to be slightly lower than in 2015, when 8.1 GW of wind made up by far the largest portion of 2015 capacity additions. Wind capacity additions in 2016 are expected to total 6.8 GW. Most wind additions are found in the Plains region between the Dakotas and Minnesota, south to Texas and eastern New Mexico.”
The other major source of new electric generation coming online in 2016 will be from natural gas, according to the EIA. “Most capacity additions over the past 20 years have been natural gas-fired units. About 8 GW is expected to be added this year, slightly above the 7.8 GW average annual additions over the previous five years,” it reported.
In regards to solar power, California is expected to remain the leader with an anticipated 3.9 gigawatts of solar coming online this year. The other states expected to lead in solar deployment in 2016 are: North Carolina, which is expected to install 1.1 gigawatts; Nevada, which is expected to install 900 megawatts; and Georgia and Texas each of which is expected to install 700 megawatts.Tweet