According to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of the latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through August 31, 2019), both wind and solar are accounting for more and more of the total electrical generation in the United States.
Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for 18.49% of net domestic electrical generation during the first eight months of 2019, said SUN DAY. A year earlier, renewables’ share was 17.95%.
Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, grew 13.7% compared to the first eight months of 2018 and accounted for a bit more than 2.7% of total electrical output. Small-scale solar (e.g., distributed rooftop systems) – which increased by 19.1% – provided nearly a third (32.6%) of total solar electrical generation. The growth rate of distributed solar was greater than that of any other energy source.
In addition, U.S. wind-generated electricity increased by 4.4%, accounting for 6.94% of all electricity generated.
Combined, wind and solar accounted for almost a tenth (9.64%) of U.S. electrical generation through the end of August. In addition, biomass provided 1.4% (increasing by 2.5%) and geothermal contributed almost 0.4% (reflecting 3.2% growth).
In total, non-hydro renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) accounted for 11.44% of total U.S. electrical production during the first two-thirds of 2019 and grew by 6.15% compared to the same eight-month period in 2018.
Notwithstanding a 5.2% decrease in hydropower’s output, electrical generation by the mix of all renewables, including hydropower, was 1.49% higher than a year earlier.
By comparison, nuclear-generated electricity declined by 0.6% while that from coal plummeted by 13.9%. However, much of the latter was replaced by natural gas which grew by 6.5%.