Solar generation up 36% in the first two months of 2022

Good News Notes:

The solar PV train has left the station with strong momentum in 2022, showing 36% year-over-year growth through February when compared to the first two months of 2021. This marks significant growth despite a year of challenges for the industry. This figure includes both large-scale and small-scale generation, as reported by the Energy Information Association (EIA) Electric Power Monthly, which shows updated capacity and generation data through February 2022.

Through the first two months of the year, all solar PV generation reported by EIA combined for 23,862 GWh, up from 17,593 GWh through the first two months of 2021.

As a portion of all electrical generation, all solar PV reported by EIA generated 167,047 GWh on a 12-month rolling basis through February, just under 4% of total generation in the United States. This compares to the 12-month rolling basis a year before, in which solar PV generated 130,511 GWh, a 3.24% share in US electricity generation.

This boost in generation is thanks to the hard work of the US solar industry, which together installed 23.6 GW of capacity in 2021, enough to power the equivalent of 23.3 million American homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Solar accounted for 46% of all new capacity brought online in 2021, marking the third year in a row that PV held the largest share of new capacity additions in the US.

Small-scale generation projects, which are projects less than 1 MW, were estimated to provide 50,301 GWh on a 12-month rolling basis, up 19% from the previous year’s rolling 12-month generation of 42,257 GWh. This level of generation means that small-scale solar projects have now eclipsed 1% of total generation throughout the year at 1.2%.

Sustainable energy

In a previous look at EIA figures, pv magazine reviewed differences between “renewable” and “sustainable” energy. Johns Hopkins Universitydescribes renewable energy as something that comes from sources that naturally renew themselves to meet our energy needs. This can include such technologies as biomass, hydropower, etc. “Sustainable” energy is defined as energy that can support both the current generation as well as future generations. John Hopkins considers solar and wind as primary sources of sustainable energy.

Sustainable electricity generation (all solar PV and wind) started 2022 strong, growing by greater than 33% through two months versus the prior year.

Solar and wind generation totaled 616,149 GWh on a 12-month rolling basis. Year-to-date through the available February data, solar and wind have combined for 107,164 GWh, a 15% share in the US electricity supply thus far in 2022. Last year, sustainable electricity held an 11.8% share through the first two months of 2021.

We are eager to analyze the figures for this spring, where demand lowers and solar production ramps up, and it will be interesting to see the PV total share of electric generation, with CO2 free generation (including nuclear and hydropower) possibly reaching 50%. Emissions-free generation peaked in May of 2020 and then March of 2021, contributing 46.5% and 45.8%, respectively.

Dips in nuclear and hydropower contribution, which are expected to continue, contributed to a smaller share of electricity generation being emissions free in 2021 vs. 2020, suggesting that solar PV and wind will need to deploy even more rapidly to carry the torch for climate friendly energy generation….”

View the whole story here:

Leave a Reply