U.S. electric generating facilities expect to add more than 26 GW of utility-scale generating capacity to the power grid during 2016, with solar accounting for most of that planned capacity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
In its Electric Power Monthly report, the agency says the majority of the additions will come from three resources: solar (9.5 GW), natural gas (8.0 GW) and wind (6.8 GW) – which together make up 93% of total additions. If actual additions ultimately reflect these plans, the EIA continues, 2016 will be the first year in which utility-scale solar additions exceed additions from any other single energy source.
As mentioned, planned utility-scale solar additions total 9.5 GW this year. The EIA says this level is substantially higher than the 3.1 GW of solar added in 2015 and would be more than the total solar installations for the past three years combined (9.4 GW during 2013-2015).
According to the agency, the top five states where solar capacity is being added are California (3.9 GW), North Carolina (1.1 GW), Nevada (0.9 GW), Texas (0.7 GW) and Georgia (0.7 GW).
The EIA notes these values reflect utility-scale solar capacity additions and do not include any distributed generation (i.e., rooftop solar). In 2015, nearly 2 GW of distributed solar photovoltaic capacity was added.
The EIA further explains that the values in its report reflect reported additions and retirements, not model projections. More information is available here.