For the first time in history, solar beat out natural gas in new additions to generating capacity on the American electrical grid last year.
More than 29% of all new power capacity in the U.S. came from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in 2015 – offering 7.3 gigawatts (GW) in additional renewable energy, a 17% increase over 2014.
Overall, solar now accounts for 25 GW of the U.S. power supply, up from just 2 GW in 2010.
Electrical utilities accounted for more than half the new installations, but residential installations accounted for a record breaking 2 GW of the total.
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Sunny states in the west and south led the way with California, North Carolina, and Nevada topping the list for the most solar installations, but the fourth and fifth place slots went to Massachusetts and New York in the northeast.
Solar outperformed U.S. Energy Department forecasts for the year, and is part of a mix of renewable energy sources — including wind, water, and biomass — supplying more than 17% of U.S. electrical needs.
The findings were announced Monday by the Solar Energy Industries Association ahead of it’s U.S. Solar Market Insight report to be released on March 9.
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