- EIA says in 2021 39.7 GW of new power generation capacity is expected to come online
- It comprises 15.4 GW of utility scale solar accounting for 39% of the total expected
- An additional 4.1 GW of small scale PV capacity is also scheduled to assume operations this year
- Battery storage capacity of 4.3 GW is also scheduled to become operational by the end of 2021
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US government expects the year 2021 to bring to the grid new utility scale solar PV capacity with a record 15.4 GW added. This estimate is based on what the developers and plant owners expect for the year. In addition, the EIA anticipates an additional 4.1 GW of small scale PV capacity to also come online by the end of this year.
It adds that more than half of this new utility scale PV capacity is planned to come up in 4 states, distributed as 28% in Texas, 9% each in Nevada and California and 7% in North Carolina.
This 15.4 GW will comfortably exceed the capacity installed in 2020, which according to the EIA should be around 12 GW after factoring in 6 GW installed till October 2020 and 5.7 GW scheduled to be added in the last 2 months.
Overall, solar seems to be growing its stature in the US electricity market as according to the EIA’s latest inventory of electricity generators, developers and power plant owners, the country has planned for 39.7 GW of new utility scale electricity generation capacity to assume commercial operations in 2021 with solar PV claiming the largest chunk at 39%, followed by wind at 31% or 12.2 GW.
Utility scale battery storage is likely to ‘more than quadruple’ with 4.3 GW capacity to come online by the end of this year thanks to the proliferation of wind and solar PV capacity. Of this 4.3 GW, 409 MW capacity is currently under construction at manatee Solar Energy Center in Florida being built by Florida Power & Light that back in March 2019 called it the world’s largest solar-powered battery system (see Florida Utility To Build 900 MWh Solar Powered Battery).
The EIA says in 2021 planned natural gas capacity additions will grow with 6.6 GW.
In their US Solar Market Insight Q4 2020 Report, Wood Mackenzie and SEIA had forecast more than 19 GW DC of total solar installations for the country in 2020, with most of it – over 14 GW – coming from utility scale PV (see US Installed 3.8 GW DC New Solar In Q3/2020).