According to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report, solar alone has accounted for nearly a third of new US generating capacity 1 thus far in 2014: 32.1% (1,131 MW). By comparison, wind provided 19.8% (699 MW), followed by biomass (2.5% - 87 MW), geothermal (0.9% - 32 MW), and hydropower (0.5% - 16 MW).
Most of the balance (1,555 MW - 44.1%) of the new generating capacity was provided by natural gas while no new coal or nuclear power capacity was reported.
The dominant role being played by renewables in providing new electrical generating capacity in 2014 is continuing a trend now several years in the making. Since January 1, 2012, renewable energy sources have accounted for almost half (48.0%) or 22,774 MW of the 47,446 MW of new electrical generating capacity.
If calendar year 2011 is also factored in, then renewables have accounted for approximately 45% of all new electrical generating capacity over the past 3 1/2 years. In fact, since January 1, 2011 renewables have provided more new electrical generating capacity than natural gas (31,345 MW vs. 29,176 MW) and nearly four times that from coal (8,235 MW).
Renewable energy sources now account for 16.28% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water - 8.57%, wind - 5.26%, biomass - 1.37%, solar - 0.75%, and geothermal steam - 0.33%. This is up from 14.76% two years earlier (i.e., June 30, 2012) and is now more than nuclear (9.24%) and oil (4.03%) combined.
- Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Actual net electrical generation from renewable energy sources in the United States now totals about 14% according to the most recent data (i.e., as of April 2014) provided by the US Energy Information Administration.