Solar's Share of U.S. Electrical Generation Tops 5% as Renewables Grew by 14.3% During First Ten Months of 2022
- Jan 2, 2023 11:42 pm GMT
According to a review by the SUN DAY Campaign of data recently released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided almost 23% of the nation's electrical generation during the first ten months of 2022.
The final issue of EIA's "Electric Power Monthly" report series published in 2022 (with data through October 31) reveals that in the first ten months of 2022, renewable energy sources (including small-scale solar systems)  increased their electrical output by 14.26% compared to the same period a year earlier. By comparison, electrical generation by all energy sources combined grew by just 3.14%.
Year-to-date, renewables have provided 22.60% of total U.S. electrical generation compared to 20.40% a year earlier. Accordingly, they are on track to reach or surpass EIA's forecast of renewables providing 22% of U.S. electricity in calendar year 2022.
Output by solar alone increased by 26.23% and its share of total U.S. electrical generation year-to-date (YTD) surpassed 5.0%, providing 5.05% through the end of October. For perspective, solar's YTD share first reached 1.0% in March 2016. Since then, solar's monthly generation has increased almost six-fold. The trend seems likely to continue - in October alone, solar's output was 31.68% greater than a year earlier, a rate of growth that strongly eclipsed that of all other energy sources..
Further, for the ten-month period, electrical generation by wind expanded by 16.86% and provided almost a tenth (9.80%) of total electrical generation. In addition, generation by hydropower grew 6.13% and accounted for 6.14% of the total. Electrical output by geothermal as well as wood & wood-derived fuels also increased by 6.45% and 0.16% respectively. Only generation by "other biomass" fell - by 4.85%.
Taken together, during the first ten months of 2022, renewable energy sources comfortably out-produced both coal and nuclear power by 16.62% and 27.39% respectively. However, natural gas continues to dominate with a 39.40% share of total generation.
As 2023 begins, it seems very likely that renewables will provide nearly a quarter - if not more - of the nation's electricity during the coming year. And it is entirely possible that the combination of just wind and solar will outpace nuclear power and maybe even that of coal during the next twelve months.
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 Unless otherwise indicated, the electricity figures cited above include EIA's "estimated small-scale solar photovoltaic" (e.g., rooftop solar systems) which accounts for 28.9% of total solar output and over six percent (6.4%) of total net electrical generation by renewable energy sources.
 See, for example, U.S. Energy Information Administration, "EIA expects renewables to account for 22% of U.S. electricity generation in 2022" (August 16, 2022) https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=53459
EIA's latest "Electric Power Monthly" report was released on December 22, 2022. For the data cited in this news release, see Table ES1.A "Total Electric Power Industry Summary Statistics 2022 and 2021" and Table ES1.B. “Total Electric Power Industry Summary Statistics, Year-to-Date 2022 and 2021”at:
The 2016 data cited may be derived from Table ES1.B found on p.12 of EIA's May 2016 "Electric Power Monthly" report; see: https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/archive/may2016.pdf
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The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to support a rapid transition to 100% reliance on sustainable energy technologies as a cost-effective alternative to nuclear power and fossil fuels and as a solution to climate change. Follow on Twitter: @SunDayCampaign
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