Solar PV to Grow Faster Than Wind Energy

The use of solar photovoltaic to generate electricity in the United States will grow at three times the rate of wind energy over the next two decades, according to government statistics.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2002-01-15 [] There were 2.42 GW of wind capacity in 2000, generating 5.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, notes the ‘Annual Energy Outlook 2002′ released by the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy. Wind capacity will grow to 7.65 GW by 2010 and to 9.06 GW by 2020, while generation will increase to 19.45 and 24.07 billion kWh respectively, according to data filed with the forecasts. That represents an annual average increase of 6.8 percent for capacity and 7.9 percent for wind generation. Solar PV is the smallest renewable energy technology tracked by EIA, with 0.01 GW capacity and 0.01 billion kWh of generation in 2000. By 2010, those levels will increase to 0.11 GW and 0.26 b-kWh output while, by 2020, it will be 0.27 GW capacity and contribute 0.68 b-kWh, representing annual increases of 19.8 and 22.8 percent respectively. The EIA data do not record the use of renewables for non-utility generation, such as off-grid consumption and net metered output. The use of solar thermal for electricity will grow by 0.33 GW in 2000 to 0.41 in 2020, an annual increase of 1 percent, while output will rise from 0.87 to 1.12 billion kWh, or 1.3 percent a year. Geothermal is expected to increase from 2.85 GW capacity and 13.52 b-kWh output in 2000, to 5.32 GW and 34.71 b-kWh in 2020, representing annual increases of 3.2 and 4.8 percent. Conventional hydropower is the largest single renewable energy technology in the U.S., with 79.29 GW and output of 272.33 b-kWh in 2000. It is expected to rise to 79.9 GW capacity and 300 b-kWh output in 2020, or less than 0.5 percent per year. The balance of renewable energy generation comes from municipal solid waste (2.84 GW and 20.15 b-kWh) and biomass (1.39 GW and 8.37 b-kWh) last year, which will grow to 4.3 / 30.98 and 1.97 / 15.32 by 2020.
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