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Solar Energy becomes 2nd biggest contributor to electricity capacity additions in the USA

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Solar Energy captures 2nd place as a source of Electricity- USA

Solar energy has left its image of a niche energy source far behind and is becoming the number one or number two contributor to new electricity capacity additions in the USA and the other major developed countries. Though China added the most amount of electric capacity in 2013 with solar energy adding a massive 12 GW, it still remained far behind coal, gas and other sources. The reason is that China is adding electric capacity like crazy and is using all sources of energy.

USA added around 13 GW of total electric capacity in 2013, with around 22% being contributed by solar energy alone. We except that the 2.2 GW of solar energy will continue to grow rapidly and it will soon overtake natural gas, as the leading contributor of electric generating capacity in the USA. Natural gas prices are no longer super cheap as they were earlier at $2/mmbtu and have more than doubled in the last couple of years.

A lot of the thermal capacity was being replaced by natural gas. This trend will slow down if not stop, as thermal power becomes more competitive in prices with natural gas. Solar Energy prices are falling drastically. Per watt installed prices have fallen by half in the last 5 years. The fixed 25 year pricing, the positive green effect and government subsidies are all pushing solar energy forward.

Europe already gets most of its electric capacity additions from wind and solar energy. There is a strong backlash against coal and nuclear energy, while natural gas is quite expensive in Europe. There is also the problem of energy security since most of the gas comes from Russia which has frequently threatened to close down the flow over various disputes.

Other emerging countries such as South Africa, India etc. are also installing gigawatts of solar power as they are deficient in natural gas; and coal is facing huge protests because of its dirty nature. There is also the issue of land acquisition for large coal based power plants with attendant problems of water, soot, air pollution, coal mining deaths. Nuclear energy has also become stigmatized because of the Fukushima incident. Only solar and wind energy seem to be acceptable energy options these days.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. pramod ranjan arora

    There is great scope for generation of electricity from solar energy, the grid parity has been almost achieved, and parity with coal based thermal power stations is likely to be achieved within 10 to 15 years. In future, the generation of electricity from solar energy would be economical to all other sources energy. The countries other than USA are also concentrating on electricity generation from solar energy and it has worldwide campaign.