We’ve previously written about how renewables outpaced fossil fuels in Europe for the first time in 2020. Now, new data demonstrates how US renewables, specifically solar, also thrived despite the challenges of a global pandemic.
Last year, the US built more utility-scale solar power plants than any other year, creating an added total of 9.6 gigawatts of renewable energy. Researchers from Berkeley Lab report that if not for the pandemic, numbers would have been even higher.
The Berkeley Lab report finds that a December 2020 federal tax credit helped push the development of new projects, and the extension of that credit to 2024 has further incentivized investment.
The biggest growth in solar infrastructure was in Texas. Although California and Florida have previously been leaders in solar development, the widespread panels in the states are already flooding the grid with renewable energy on sunny days, driving down the price of energy.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, 5.1 gigawatts of renewable electricity was added on homes, businesses, and in smaller projects in 2020.
This progress is critical for meeting the US’ goal of sourcing 40 percent of power from solar by 2035.