This week, the US Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab released its annual analysis of solar energy in the US. It found that nearly half the generating

US installs record solar capacity as prices keep falling

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2022-09-21 22:30:10

This week, the US Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab released its annual analysis of solar energy in the US. It found that nearly half the generating capacity was installed in the US during 2021 and is poised to dominate future installs. That's in part because costs have dropped by more than 75 percent since 2010; it's now often cheaper to build and operate a solar plant than it is to simply buy fuel for an existing natural gas plant.

The analysis was performed before the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains many incentives and tax breaks that should expand solar's advantages in the coming years.

In terms of large, utility-scale solar installs, the US added over 12.5 gigawatts of new capacity last year, bringing the total installed capacity to over 50 gigawatts. Texas led the way, with about a third of the total capacity added (3.9 GW) going online in the Lone Star State. Combined with residential and other distributed solar installations, solar alone accounted for 45 percent of the new generating capacity added to the grid last year.

That growth showed up in figures on how much energy solar supplies. Five states now receive more than 15 percent of their electricity from solar power, including Massachusetts and Vermont, with California receiving 25 percent of its electricity from the Sun.

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