Solar power accounted for 100% of new energy on U.S. grid in March 2013

SunTech solar panel maker from china
© SunTech

Granted, it was only 44 megawatts

According to the latest data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), March 2013 was a very special month for the U.S. power grid. For the first time ever, all of the new capacity added during the month came from solar power. Granted, it wasn't quite an ordinary month for the grid: No other sources added any capacity, and solar officially grew by 44 megawatts, a respectable amount for a single month (that's more than half a gigawatt annualized).

Here are the official numbers:

FERC chart© FERC

Notice that in 2013 so far, solar has added 537MW, wind power 958MW. Wind alone accounts for more than all other sources combined. 2012 was a bit different, with more coal (808MW) and natural gas (1,145MW), but still strong numbers for wind and solar (1,431MW and 264MW respectively). But solar's growth is the real story; just in the first 3 months of 2013, there's already been twice as much new solar capacity added to the U.S. grid as in all of 2012.

Since 2008, the amount of solar energy powering U.S. homes, businesses and military bases has grown by more than 600 percent according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. In 2012 alone, the United States brought more new solar capacity online than in the three prior years combined, underscoring projections that solar will be the nation's largest new source of energy over the next four years. (source)

The biggest new solar project to have come online in March was NRG Energy's 26 MW Borrego Solar in San Diego County, CA is online. There's a second phase of 15 MW that is expected to come online in June of this year.

Brightsource solar power project© Brightsource

For more great pics of huge concentrating solar power plants being built in the Mojave, check out: 300,000 mirrors: World's largest thermal solar plant (377MW) under construction in the Mojave

Via FERC, USNews

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