US utility-scale solar grows rapidly over past 5 years
- Utility-scale solar energy makes up about 2% of all utility-scale electric generating capacity, EIA reports

U.S. utility-scale solar installations - including both photovoltaic (PV) and thermal technologies - grew at an average rate of 72 percent per year between 2010 and 2016, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced Thursday.

Utility-scale solar - plants with a capacity of at least one megawatt - now make up about 2 percent of all utility-scale electric generating capacity and 0.9 percent of utility-scale generation, the EIA showed.

"As of December 2016, more than 21.5 gigawatts [GW] of utility-scale solar generating capacity was in operation across the United States, with more than 7.6 GW of that capacity coming online in 2016," according to the EIA.

Since 2005, the federal government has provided 30 percent investment tax credits, which is scheduled to phase down or expire by 2022.

In addition, utility-scale solar generation has been increasing as a result of the rapid growth in capacity; however, solar’s share of utility-scale electricity generation is 0.9 percent, about half of its share of capacity.

In 2016, the EIA estimates that the United States added 3.4 GW of small-scale solar generating capacity across all three end-use sectors (residential, commercial, and industrial), ending the year with more than 13.1 GW of installed capacity.

According to EIA estimates, California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts had the most small-scale solar capacity with 5.4 GW, 1.3 GW, and 1.0 GW, respectively.

In the U.S. the first utility-scale solar plants were installed in the mid-1980s, but more than half of the currently operating utility-scale solar capacity came online in the past two years.

By Gulsen Cagatay

Anadolu Agency





05 May,2017