Matching the result in October 2020, November 2020 saw 100% of new US power capacity coming from wind and solar power, according to data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The figures exclude rooftop solar power, but 100% is 100% either way.
Overall, in the first 11 months of 2020, solar and wind power accounted for 70% of all new power capacity in the country (excluding rooftop solar from the equation).
That’s up from solar and wind accounting for 51% in the first 11 months of 2019.
More specifically, solar accounted for 41.5% of new power capacity in November 2020, 31.2% in the first 11 months of 2020, and 24% in the first 11 months of 2019. Meanwhile, wind accounted for 58.5%, 38.7%, and 27.1% in those same periods of time, respectively.
Natural gas dropped from 45.5% in January–November 2019 to 29% in January–November 2020.
Naturally, if you throw in rooftop solar power, all the solar and overall renewable energy numbers look better and fossil fuels look worse, but I’m skipping that exercise in this report. I’ll return to an estimate for small-scale solar in the year-end report soon.
Renewable energy was the clear winner in terms of new power capacity last year, but what about total installed power capacity?
In terms of total installed power capacity in the USA, solar and wind combine for 13.6%. All renewables combined totaled 23.6%. Coal accounted for 20% and natural gas for 44.4%. So, clearly, there’s still a long way to go to make the United States a clean energy country.
See previous US power capacity reports. Also see our US electricity generation reports for more context.
Here’s an interactive version of the charts above, but note that it may not display well on your mobile device (use a real computer!):
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