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Renewables Provide a Fifth of U.S. Electricity as Small-Scale Solar Grows 20%

SUN DAY CAMPAIGN: Brief News Update

EIA’s MID-YEAR “ELECTRIC POWER MONTHLY” REPORT:

YEAR TO DATE:

RENEWABLES EXCEED 20.1% OF U.S. ELECTRICITY, NECK-AND-NECK WITH NUCLEAR, CLOSING IN ON COAL

SOLAR REACHES 2.7% OF TOTAL AS WIND RETAINS ITS LEAD OVER HYDROPOWER

Contact:         Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.6

Washington DC – Renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for more than a fifth (20.1%) of net domestic electrical generation during the first six months of 2019, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of just-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). A year earlier, renewables’ share was 19.9%.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through June 30, 2019) reveals that solar and wind both showed continued growth.

Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, increased by 10.5% compared to the first half of 2018 and accounted for 2.7% of the nation’s total net generation. Small-scale solar (e.g., distributed rooftop systems) – which increased by 19.9% – provided nearly a third (32.7%) of total solar electrical generation.

U.S. wind-generated electricity increased by 0.9% and topped that provided by hydropower by 0.4%. Wind’s share was 7.8% of total electrical output vs. 7.7% from hydropower.

Combined, wind and solar accounted for 10.5% of U.S. electrical generation through the end of June. In addition, biomass provided 1.5% and geothermal contributed a bit more than 0.4% (reflecting 2.2% growth).

Moreover, during the six-month period, electricity from renewable energy sources ran neck-and-neck with that from nuclear power — 399,585 vs. 400,005 thousand megawatt-hours or 20.11% vs. 20.14% of total domestic electrical output.

In addition, during the first half of 2019, renewables further closed the gap with coal. A year ago, renewables provided 74.6% as much electricity as coal. However, growth in renewable electrical output coupled with a 13.2% drop in that of coal has resulted in renewables generating 85.0% as much electricity as coal during the first six months of 2019.

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NOTE: The figures cited above include EIA’s “estimated small-scale solar photovoltaic” which totaled 17,520 thousand megawatt-hours for the first six months of 2019.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” was officially released on August 26, 2019.
For the data cited in this news update, see:

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_es1a

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_es1b

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