Solar power rising to top of newly installed U.S. Electric Generation capacity in 2022, EIA says

Jan. 10, 2022
The EIA expects that large-scale solar power capacity will grow by 21.5 GW in 2022, more than gas-fired power or wind farms. Microgrids can increase by 500 MW nationwide

By Rod Walton, EnergyTech Senior Editor

Utility-scale solar power installations will make up nearly half of the new U.S. electric generation brought online this year, according to new statistics from the federal Energy Information Administration.

The EIA expects that large-scale solar power capacity will grow by 21.5 GW in 2022, more than 40 percent higher than the 15.5 GW in utility-scale solar additions for the previous year, the federal agency said. Power purchase agreements such as Brunswick Corp.'s 500-MW deal with Vesper Energy's solar farm in Texas are driving the growth in solar installation.

Texas, by the way, also will play host to 6.1 GW of that anticipated new solar power for 2022, while current solar industry king California will add 4 GW.

This makes the sun tops among the various resources which will fuel the expected 46.1 GW of new utility-scale power generation going operational in 2022, according to the EIA. Natural gas-fired capacity will drop to second annually with 9.6 GW of newly installed capacity in the U.S., with combined-cycle gas turbine plants accounting more than 80 percent of that gas-fired power connecting to the grid.

The EIA’s calculations indicate that utility-scale wind power broke a record in 2021 with an unconfirmed but educated forecast of 17.1 GW in newly installed capacity. This year’s wind power will not reach those heights, the agency said, but still increase by another 7.6 GW. Texas once again is first with an expected 51 percent of those new wind farms.

Utility-scale energy storage capacity will grow by 5 GW this year, or nearly double its current capacity as of 2021.

U.S. nuclear electric power has not increased in numerous years, with no new plants brought online since the middle part of the past decade. This year, however, Georgia Power is expected to bring its Vogtle Unit 3 into commercial operation.

A previous report by Statista predicts that microgrid installations in the U.S. will rise by close to 500 MW this year. See EnergyTech's full coverage of the growing microgrid industry.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can reached at [email protected]).