EIA: U.S. solar output increases 47% in 2017


The latest Electric Power Monthly by the U.S. Energy Information Agency shows solar PV continuing its impressive growth, generating 47% more electricity from January through September 2017 than the same time period in 2016. Every state in the U.S. increased its output from solar, from South Dakota, the only remaining state that did not generate more than 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) or one gigawatt-hour (GWh) in the nine month period, to perennial PV giant California.

California, with its 24,877,000 MWh, more than laps the field over next place Arizona, with 4,593,000 MWh. However, as PV output growth across the U.S. accelerates, the Golden State’s share of PV generation, shrank from 48% in 2016 to 43% in 2017. Rounding out the top 10 generators are North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Georgia, Utah and Colorado.

Of those top 10 states, Georgia had the highest year to year percentage growth, increasing 186% from 2016 to 2017, followed by Texas with 165% and Utah with 123%. Other states that made impressive percentage and quantity growth gains in the same time period are Minnesota, Idaho, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi.

In market segment terms, utility scale growth was twice as high, increasing 58% from 2016 to 2017, as small scale at 29%. The residential sector increased by 32% year-over-year, while the smaller sectors, commercial and industrial each grew 23%. Overall, PV continues its climb of market share of total electricity generated, going from 1.3% from January through September 2016 to 1.9% in the same time period in 2017.

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