Solar Power Dominates U.S. New Capacity Additions, Accounting for 87%, FERC Data Reveals

According to a recent analysis conducted by the SUN DAY Campaign, data released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unveils a notable trend: power has claimed a significant share of new capacity additions in the first quarter of 2024.

In March alone, solar energy accounted for an impressive 99.7% of capacity added, maintaining its dominance for the seventh consecutive month as the primary source of new electrical generating capacity in the .

FERC's “Energy Update” report for March 2024 indicates that 52 units of solar contributed 2,833 megawatts (MW) of new domestic generating capacity, representing nearly 99.72% of the total additions for the month.

Throughout the first quarter of the year, solar power accounted for 86.79% of new generating capacity, amounting to 6,497 MW, while wind energy contributed 12.40% with 928 MW.

Other energy sources, including natural gas, oil, , and hydropower, trailed behind solar and wind, collectively representing a smaller fraction of new capacity additions.

This persistent trend underscores solar's position as the leading source of new generating capacity for the past seven months, a streak that began in September 2023 and continued through March 2024.

Moreover, the data indicates a significant increase in new photovoltaic (PV) capacity added in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, more than doubling the figure from the previous year.

Solar and wind combined now constitute over a fifth (20.02%) of the nation's installed utility-scale generating capacity, reflecting the growing significance of sources in the nation's energy landscape.

Including biomass and geothermal energy, renewables now claim nearly a third (29.37%) of total US utility-scale generating capacity, marking a notable increase from the previous year's share.

Installed utility-scale solar capacity has ascended to fourth place, following natural gas, coal, and wind, surpassing nuclear power in its share of generating capacity.

FERC's projections for future additions indicate a substantial growth trajectory for solar energy, surpassing forecasts for wind energy by a significant margin.

Executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, Ken Bossong, remarked on the implications of FERC's data, suggesting that solar's growth trajectory in 2024 may exceed expectations based on multiple forecasts.


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