Solar Surpassed Only by Natural Gas For New Electrical Generating Capacity

According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water, wind) accounted for 30.03% of all new domestic electrical generating capacity installed in the first nine months of 2013 for a total of 3,218 MW.

stock groundmountThat is more than that provided thus far this year by coal (1,543 MW – 14.40%), oil (27 MW – 0.25%), and nuclear power (0 MW – 0.00%) combined. However, natural gas dominated the first three-quarters of 2013 with 5,854 MW of new capacity (54.62%).

Among renewable energy sources, solar led the way for the first nine months of 2013 with 146 new “units” totaling 1,935 MW followed by wind with 9 units totaling 961 MW. Biomass added 57 new units totaling 192 MW while water  had 11 new units with an installed capacity of 116 MW and geothermal steam had one new unit (14 MW).

The newly installed capacity being provided by the solar units is second only to that of natural gas. The new solar capacity in 2013 is 77.36% higher than that for the same period in 2012.

Renewable sources now account for 15.68% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity:  water – 8.32%, wind – 5.18%, biomass – 1.31%, solar – 0.54%, and geothermal steam – 0.33%.  This is more than nuclear (9.19%) and oil (4.06%) combined.

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