The single fastest growing source of electricity generation in the United States this year has been solar photovoltaic.
WASHINGTON, DC – Data on generation released by the Energy Information Agency shows that the use of solar panels to generate power rose 11.3 percent during the first eight months of this year, compared to the same period of 1999. By comparison, the growth in total electricity generation in the U.S. was 2.6 percent over the January-August period. Wind turbines increased their output by 0.4 percent, while geothermal was only 0.2 percent. Conventional hydroelectric facilities actually declined by 13.4 percent compared with last year, while hydro pumped storage dropped 16.7 percent. Among the traditional fuels used to generate the 2,563,007 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first eight months, coal remains the largest source at 1,303,220 million kWh, up 3.6 percent during the comparative periods. Nuclear is in second spot at 509,646 million kWh, up 5.6 percent, while natural gas was used to generate 424,412 million kWh, an increase of 10.5 percent from last year. Oil was used for only 70,865 million kWh, a decrease of 23 percent. Although solar PV registered the largest increase, it is one of the smallest sources of generation at only 267 million kWh. Of this output, non-utilities were responsible for 265 while utilities used PV for only 2 million kWh. Wind turbines generated 3,585 million kWh during the first eight months of this year, of which non-utilities were responsible for 3,571 and utilities used wind for 14 million kWh. Of the 9,067 million kWh generated from geothermal during that period, non- utilities generated 8,964 and utilities generated only 103 million kWh. Next to hydroelectric facilities, biomass represents the largest source of renewable energy in the United States, with 48,433 million kWh generated from combustion. Of this total output, non- utilities were responsible for 47,075 and utilities generated only 1,358 million kWh. EIA is the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. It releases a monthly summary of electricity generation, including fuel consumption, stocks, sales and revenues.