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Solar Generation Up More Than 10 Percent in Early 2019

Randy Sukow Aug 14, 2019

Total solar electric power generation during the first five months of 2019 reached 41.707 million megawatt hours (MWh), according to recently released statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). That was an increase from 37.592 MWh during the first five months of 2018. US EIA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy charged with gathering and analyzing energy statistics.

“Solar, including small-scale solar photovoltaic [PV] systems, increased by 10.9 percent compared to the first five months of 2018 and accounted for 2.6 percent of the nation's total net generation,” according to a press release from the SUN DAY Campaign, an organization that promotes alternative energy. “Small-scale solar [e.g., distributed rooftop systems] - which increased by 20.2 percent - provided a third [33.3 percent] of total solar electrical generation.”

The solar generation total includes 2.677 million MWh generated by electric utilities. The great majority of generation, 24.885 MWh, was from what EIA terms “independent power producers.”

The SUN DAY article noted that combined generation for all renewable sources – solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydropower – for the first time exceeded the amount of coal and nuclear generation. Only natural gas generation outpaced renewables.

Also, from US EIA, it appears that that imports of PV cells to the United States are rebounding. PV imports have slumped over the last 18 months due to tariffs on Chinese. “Monthly U.S. solar PV module imports averaged 644,000 kilowatts in the first four months of 2019, about 16 percent more than the average imports in the first four months of 2017, before the announcement of the trade case that ultimately led to the tariffs,” the agency said in an EIA announcement earlier this week.

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