The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) publishes the US Solar Market Insight report each quarter, in collaboration with the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. Their 2021 Q4 report was published on December 14, and the outlook is promising despite recent supply chain issues around the world.
source: Alternative Power Solutions Inc.
- The US exceeded 100 gigawatts of solar power capacity early in 2021, and more than 15 gigawatts were added between January and September 2021.
- A total of 5.4 GW were added in the third quarter, and data for October – December 2021 will be available in the next SEIA report, which is expected for March 2022.
Solar power accounts for 54% of the new generation capacity installed in the US during 2021, making it the electricity source with the fastest growth. Wind power follows in second place, representing 35% of new capacity. This means solar and wind power account for 89% of total capacity additions in 2021, while natural gas represents 10% and all other sources only account for around 1% (this includes coal).
- Fossil fuels still dominate the grid, providing 60% of the electricity used in the US according to the Energy Information Administration. Natural gas represents 40%, coal represents 19%, while petroleum is used to generate the remaining 1%.
- However, this could soon change with the current growth rate of wind and solar power. Renewables are providing 20% of the electricity consumed, and more than half comes from solar panels and wind turbines.
For the first time on record, the US installed more than one gigawatt (1,000,000 kilowatts) of residential solar power in a single quarter. More than 130,000 home solar systems were set up in Q3 2021, at an average price of $3.06 per watt. If this pace can be sustained, the US will soon be installing over 500,000 home solar systems per year!