Solar Makes Up Most of New U.S. Power Capacity for First Time

  • Industry added 1,665 megawatts in first quarter, GTM says
  • Solar accounted for 64% of new capacity, wind added 33%

The U.S. solar industry had a record first quarter, accounting for the majority of new power generation for the first time.

The 1,665 megawatts of solar power that came online in the first three months of the year represented 64 percent of new capacity, and wind provided 33 percent, analysts at GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association said in a statement Thursday.

The U.S. solar industry will add 14.5 gigawatts this year, mainly with large utility-scale power plants, almost double the 7.5 gigawatts installed last year. Residential rooftops reached 1 million homes this year and will add another 1 million within two years, said Tom Kimbis, interim director of the Washington-based trade group.

“The solar industry is growing at warp speed, driven by the fact that solar is one of the lowest-cost options for electricity,” Kimbis said in the statement.

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