Solar power 'up and coming,' EIA says

Solar power now makes up more than 1 percent of total U.S. grid capacity.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  April 24, 2014 at 9:19 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 24 (UPI) -- Solar power now accounts for more than 1 percent of the total capacity of the U.S. electrical grid, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

EIA issued its monthly report on electricity generation in the U.S. grid. It said the total solar capacity as of February was 12,057 megawatts, or about 1.1 percent of total U.S. capacity. That total represents a 418 percent increase from 2010, the report said.

Last week, the Energy Department said it made $15 million available to help U.S. communities develop solar energy plans to use at homes and area businesses. The funding was made available through the so-called SunShot initiative, which aims to make solar power competitive with rival sources of energy.

In December, the Energy Department said 930 megawatts of solar power was added to the U.S. grid during the second quarter of 2013, up 20 percent from the previous quarter.

EIA said in its Wednesday report solar power capacity on the U.S. grid has moved quickly from a small contributor to one of the more significant forms of renewable energy.

"Much like the wind sector growth, which grew tremendously from 6,456 MW in January 2005 to 60,661 MW to January 2014, solar capacity is quite clearly up and coming," it said.

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