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Non-Hydro Renewables Grow 6.2% & Provide 11.4% of U.S. Electricity as Small-Scale Solar Grows 19.1%

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Washington DCRenewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for 18.49% of net domestic electrical generation during the first eight months of 2019, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of just-released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). A year earlier, renewables’ share was 17.95%.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through August 31, 2019) reveals that solar and wind both showed continued growth.

Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, grew 13.7% compared to the first eight months of 2018 and accounted for a bit more than 2.7% of total electrical output. Small-scale solar (e.g., distributed rooftop systems) – which increased by 19.1% – provided nearly a third (32.6%) of total solar electrical generation. The growth rate of distributed solar was greater than that of any other energy source.

In addition, U.S. wind-generated electricity increased by 4.4%, accounting for 6.94% of all electricity generated.

Combined, wind and solar accounted for almost a tenth (9.64%) of U.S. electrical generation through the end of August. In addition, biomass provided 1.4% (increasing by 2.5%) and geothermal contributed almost 0.4% (reflecting 3.2% growth).

In total, non-hydro renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) accounted for 11.44% of total U.S. electrical production during the first two-thirds of 2019 and grew by 6.15% compared to the same eight-month period in 2018.

Notwithstanding a 5.2% decrease in hydropower’s output, electrical generation by the mix of all renewables, including hydropower, was 1.49% higher than a year earlier.

By comparison, nuclear-generated electricity declined by 0.6% while that from coal plummeted by 13.9%. However, much of the latter was replaced by natural gas which grew by 6.5%.

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NOTE: The figures cited above include EIA’s “estimated small-scale solar photovoltaic” which totaled 24,762 thousand megawatt-hours for the first eight months of 2019.

The latest issue of EIA’s “Electric Power Monthly” was officially released on October 24, 2019.
For the data cited in this news update, see:

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_es1a

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.php?t=epmt_es1b

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The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to aggressively promote 100% reliance on sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels and as a strategy for addressing climate change.

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