Growth in large-scale solar capacity is expected to exceed wind growth next year for the first time, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
In its July short-term outlook released yesterday, EIA projected that 17 gigawatts of solar generating capacity will be added to the grid in 2022. By comparison, 6 GW of wind power will come online next year.
Overall, the share of electricity generation from solar and wind will grow to 15% by 2022, up from 11% in 2020, the report said. The decrease in wind power growth is mostly due to the expiration of the federal production tax credit, EIA said, although Congress extended the tax credit in January to last until the end of this year.
The data comes on the heels of a strong year for solar in 2020, despite the global pandemic. The industry experienced record growth last year, even as overall solar jobs fell (Energywire, May 6).
Meanwhile, generation from hydropower and nuclear energy is expected to fall in 2022 due to drought conditions in the West and the retirement of nuclear power plants, EIA said. The intense drought in California, in which about 33% of the state has been categorized under “exceptional drought,” has affected California’s water supply and reduced its hydropower capacity.