• New US wind power capacity in 2015 was 8.6 GW, while solar PV added 7.3 GW

• While wind capacity grew by 77% YoY, solar increased by 12% in 2015

• Solar analysts predict around 15-16 GW of new capacity addition for PV in 2016; AWEA says 9.4 GW of wind capacity is under construction, with another 4.9 GW in advanced stages of development

• EIA estimates that 9.5 GW of utility scale solar will be installed in 2016, which will be enough to exceed additions from any other single energy source

Now one of the most progressive regions to embrace renewable energy in the world, the US installed a total of 8,598 MW of wind energy capacity across 20 states in 2015, increasing by 77% over 2014, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). This represents 41% of the total share of total power capacity additions in 2015 for wind in the US, the wind lobby group said on April 12. While PV grew by 12% to 7.3 GW in 2015, this contributed 28.5% of total new installed power capacity last year.

In 2015, wind clearly dominated power generation capacity additions in the US.

In 2015, wind clearly dominated power generation capacity additions in the US.

Though wind has had a good run in the US, PV might outshine wind this year – and all other power generation sources as well. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in the utility scale segment, PV generating capacity will grow to 9.5 GW in 2016; wind is supposed to install 6.8 GW. If this happens, says the EIA, it will be the ‘first year in which utility-scale solar additions exceed additions from any other single energy source. In 2015, 3.1 GW of utility scale solar power was added, according to the EIA.

However, the EIA only covered utility-scale estimates. The estimates for total new annual PV capacities in the American market in 2016 hover around 15 to 16 GW. US company GTM Research in March estimated that 16 GW of PV would be installed in 2016 (see article US to add 16 GW of solar in 2016), global consulting and research firm IHS predicts 15 GW of new solar in the US.

AWEA says that at the start of 2016, 9,400 MW of wind capacity was under construction, with another 4,900 MW in advanced stages of development. If all were completed, that would result in 14.3 GW, which is unlikely, but would be still less than the 15-16 GW forecasted for solar by IHS and GTM.