U.S. commissioned 12 utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in October 2012, for a total of 504 MW, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The United States commissioned 12 utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in October 2012, for a total of 504 MW, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This represented 72% of the new capacity brought online during the month.
Solar energy projects commissioned during the month include Abengoa’s 280 MW Solana Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant in Arizona and Souther Company’s 139 MW Campo Verde PV project in Southern California. Even with these additions, utility-scale PV and CSP represent only 0.59% of the total installed operational generating capacity in the nation, which is dominated by natural gas (42%) and coal (29%).
These figures do not include behind-the-meter residential and commercial PV systems. Unlike Germany and other European nations which closely account for the installation and output of small PV systems, the U.S. federal government and many grid operators typically do not collect detailed data on the installation of such systems.
Throughout the first ten months of 2013, PV and CSP are a much smaller portion of installed capacity. 190 PV and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants totaling 2.53 GW were connected to the grid from January through October 2013, representing 21% of new capacity.
By contrast, 60 natural gas-fired plants totaling 6.62 GW were added during the period, representing more than half of new capacity. And despite the right-wing accusations that U.S. President Obama is waging a “war on coal”, two new coal-fired units were also put online for another 1.54 GW.