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Solar = #2 New Energy Source In 2013 (US)

In 2013, natural gas accounted for 51.17% of all new US electricity generation capacity, taking the top spot for new power capacity. However, renewable energy sources weren’t too far behind, accounting for 37.16% of all new generation capacity (5,279 MW). Solar, in particular, led the way. Only second to natural gas, it added at 2,936 MW of power capacity in 2013 (55% of the new renewable capacity, or 21% of all new power capacity). Wind, with 18 projects, came after solar at 1,129 MW (21% of the new renewable capacity, 8% of all new power capacity).

However, the FERC report lists those 2,936 MW of solar power capacity as coming from only 266 “units.” In other words, this report leaves out rooftop solar power.

As for the rest of the renewable energy sources, here’s the breakdown:

  • Biomass: 777 MW with 97 units (14% of renewables, 5.4% of the total);
  • Hydroelectric power: 378 MW with 19 units (7% of renewables, 2.6% of the total);
  • Geothermal steam: 59 MW with 4 units (1% of renewables);

new us power capacity renewable energy 2013

The combined renewable power generation capacity added is 3.4 times that of coal (1,543 MW, 10.8% of the total), 138 times more than oil (38 MW, 0.27%), and nuclear, which was 0% in 2013 (nothing was added).

Here’s a broader look at the renewable energy growth trend and overall US power capacity picture, courtesy the SUN DAY Campaign:

For the two-year period (January 1, 2012 — December 31, 2013), renewable energy sources accounted for 47.38% of all new generation capacity placed in-service (20,809 MW).

Renewable energy sources now account for 15.97% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity:  water – 8.44%, wind – 5.20%, biomass – 1.36%, solar – 0.64%, and geothermal steam – 0.33%. This is more than nuclear (9.25%) and oil (4.05%) combined.

total us power capacity us 2013

Also, as you can see, coal power capacity is now down to 28.57% of the US power mix.

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writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:


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