U.S. Solar Capacity Up 418% Since 2010


According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), the nation's solar peak output was 2,326 MW in 2010, accounting for 0.22% of the total U.S. electric generating capacity. By February 2014, this increased 418% to 12,057 MW – a 9,731 MW gain – and now accounts for almost 1.13% of total U.S. capacity.

Net-energy metering (NEM) installations have increased each year since 2010 at an annual rate of about 1,100 MW, and now total 5,251 MW, the EIA reports. California has the largest NEM solar capacity, with 38% of the total. New Jersey and Massachusetts combined represent an additional 21%.

Utility-scale photovoltaic applications, which the EIA defines as 1 MW or greater, have also expanded significantly and currently account for 5,564 MW. California, with 2,702 MW, has 49% of the total utility-scale PV in the U.S. Arizona, with 960 MW, has 17%. North Carolina accounts for 340 MW – 6% of the total.

The thermal solar sector expanded significantly in 2013 when three large plants – Solana, Genesis and Ivanpah – went online, adding a total of 650 MW of capacity.

The EIA says that there are 6,459 MW of proposed utility-scale PV and 1,841 MW of proposed solar thermal capacity in the pipeline.

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