Report: Solar Scores Big Gains in Electricity Generation
For the first time, solar accounted for all the new electricity generation capacity added to the U.S. grid in March.
By MEG HANDLEY
April 12, 2013 RSS Feed Print
Solar energy continues to grow, accounting for all new utility electricity generation capacity added to the grid in March.
Despite the buzz surrounding natural gas and its increased role in electricity generation, solar seems to be increasingly stealing the spotlight from the newly famous fossil fuel.
Thanks to new projects across the country, solar energy accounted for all new utility electricity generation capacity added to the grid for the first time in March, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Energy Infrastructure Update. All other energy sources combined added no new generation capacity, the report noted.
Since 2008, the amount of solar energy powering U.S. homes, businesses and military bases has grown by more than 600 percent according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. In 2012 alone, the United States brought more new solar capacity online than in the three prior years combined, underscoring projections that solar will be the nation's largest new source of energy over the next four years.
Momentum behind the development of more renewable energy is mounting, too. According to a recent poll conducted by Gallup, three-quarters of Americans support increased solar energy use and 71 percent favor pursuing more wind energy.
"These new numbers from FERC support our forecast that solar will continue a pattern of growth in 2013," Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement.
The primary driver behind the advancement of utility-scale solar energy has been steeply declining equipment and installation costs, which have dropped nearly 40 percent during the past two years according Resch, making the renewable energy technology more affordable than ever.
Substantial cost reductions have also spurred innovation in