The SUN DAY Campaign recently reported that 11% of US electricity generation in the months of January and February was from wind and solar power. Solar-sourced electricity generation grew by 32% year over year, and wind-sourced electricity generation grew 20% year over year.
All in all, renewable energy, which provided almost 21% of the nation’s electricity, created 10.6% more electricity than coal in these two months, 134,094 GWh versus 121,227 GWh. Solar provided almost 2.3% of the nation’s total, while wind provided more than 8.7% of total generation. Other renewable energy sources include biomass, geothermal, and hydropower.
Thus, wind and solar together accounted for a bit more than 11% of total U.S. electrical production, 72,747 GWh. Combined with hydropower, biomass, and geothermal, renewables provided 20.3% of total electrical output.
In February, solar grew 40.3% year over year, wind grew by 27.1%, and hydropower grew by 14.9%. Renewables together provided 21.4% of the USA’s electricity in the month. Electricity from coal, meanwhile, dropped 30%, from 80,104 GWh to 56,057 GWh, which meant that renewables beat coal by 21.9%, and beat nuclear power by 3.6%.
“If present trends continue, electrical generation by the mix of renewable energy sources could permanently exceed that of either coal or nuclear power or both in 2020,” noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, a nonprofit research and educational organization founded in 1992. “And if not this year, then certainly that will happen in 2021.”
*The figures cited above include EIA’s “estimated small-scale solar photovoltaic” (e.g., rooftop solar systems) which accounted for about 32% of total solar output.