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Published on December 5th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Solar PV Generation Doubles (Monthly US Electricity Generation Report)

December 5th, 2014 by  

Following up on my first monthly report on US electricity generation by source, here’s the next one. Electricity generation data takes longer to gather than capacity data, so the EIA’s electricity generation information is always from a couple of months prior. In this case, we now have data from September. Check out the charts and a bit of commentary below (be sure to click through to YTD, YTD 2013, and Rolling 12 Months via the tabs near the top of the charts).


Something I noticed last month but forgot to mention was brought up by a commenter: Utility-scale solar PV generation for “YTD” in August was twice what YTD in 2013 was. The same point held true after September’s generation numbers were in, as you can see in the charts above.

As Jake aptly commented via rhetorical question over on Solar Love: “Did you hear that the amount of electricity produced by utility-scale solar had doubled in one year? Is the national mainstream media covering these achievements by the solar power industry?” Indeed, you won’t see this news in the mainstream media, not even the outlets that were so fond of talking about Solyndra!

12,303 GWh were sent to the U.S. grid by utility-scale solar in 2014 through the month of September. For the same period in 2013, that number was 6,048 GWh. The larger figure is only about 0.4 percent of the total amount of America’s electricity, though about 1.5 million US homes could be powered with the 12,303 GWh,” Jake added.

For the most part, monthly generation across the United States doesn’t change a ton from month to month. (The monthly capacity addition report is more interesting in that regard.) Though, renewables have their seasonal shifts. Wind was up approximately 1.3 TWh, giving it 3.38% of the electricity market rather than 2.65%. Hydro, on the other hand, was down nearly 4 TWh, moving it from 5.15% of the market to 4.68%. Nuclear and fossil fuels were also down quite a bit, though, presumably because of cooler temperatures and lower electricity demand.

For the year through September, renewables were up to 13% of the electricity market, and 6.6% if you exclude hydro. The same period last year also saw the renewables total at 13%, but hydro was a bigger share — without hydro, the percentage in 2013 was 6.1%. In other words, wind and solar grew their market share approximately 0.5% in one year. Slow and steady… is not what we need to address global warming and climate change, but I’m hopeful wind and solar will increase at a faster and faster pace in the coming years.

For more number crunching, here are some tables:

US Renewable Electricity Generation - Sept 2014 1

US Renewable Electricity Generation - Sept 2014 2

And, as shared by a reader last month, here’s a graph showing a broader view, followed by another one from a reader shared after publishing this article:

US electricity generation sources


electricity change US

Data Source: EIA 


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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