New Solar Capacity Outpaces New Fossil Fuels in the US

Solar energy still makes up just 5 percent of the nation’s energy mix, but could grow faster in coming years.

1 minute read

March 13, 2024, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Worker in safety vest and white hard hat installing rooftop solar panel.

dusanpetkovic1 / Adobe Stock

The United States added 32.4 gigawatts of solar capacity to its grid this year, amounting to 52 percent of all added capacity and far outpacing the next-highest source, natural gas, at 18 percent.

According to an article by Darren Orf in Popular Mechanics, “This solar boom can be attributed to a few things—chief among them the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which set aside roughly $369 billion for investment in and production of clean energy tech, as well as major incentives for installing rooftop solar.” California and Texas led the way in installations.

Solar now makes up 5 percent of the country’s energy mix, but authors of a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association say “with the industry firmly established, solar capacity could grow to 500 gigawatts by 2034 (though, they also note that those outcomes could shift due to policy changes).” In California, a new net metering policy could disincentivize homeowners from installing panels.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 in Popular Mechanics

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