Renewables: solar power generation in the U.S. 2000-2018

In 2018, net solar power generation in the United States reached its highest point yet at 66.6 gigawatt hours of solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) power. Solar power generation has increased drastically over the past two decades, especially since 2011, when net generation hovered just below 2 gigawatt hours.

Where is solar power used?

In the United States, an exceptionally high number of solar-related jobs are based in California. Home to Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison -- two of the largest solar energy utilities in terms of annual capacity -- the state has long been a forerunner in solar technology. Outside of California, the majority of leading American solar power utilities are located in Florida, Texas, and North Carolina.

Clean Energy in the U.S.

In recent years, solar power generation has seen more rapid growth than wind power in the United States. However, among renewables used for electricity, wind has been a more common and substantial source than solar for the past decade. Conventional hydropower remains the most frequently used sources of renewable electricity, however, there are major environmental costs often associated with the construction and operation of large hydropower facilities.

Solar power net generation in the United States from 2000 to 2018 (in million kilowatt hours)*

YearNet generation in million kilowatt hours
201866,604
201753,286
201636,054
201524,893
201417,691
20139,036
20124,327
20111,818
20101,212
2009891
2008864
2007612
2006508
2005550
2004575
2003534
2002555
2001543
2000493
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Source

Release date

April 2019

Region

United States

Survey time period

2000 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* Solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) energy.

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