Home Climate change New Report Finds Virginia Added a Whopping 1,406 Megawatts of Solar Power...

New Report Finds Virginia Added a Whopping 1,406 Megawatts of Solar Power in 2020, Ranking #4 in the Country Behind CA, TX, FL

"According to Wood Mackenzie’s 10-year forecast, the U.S. solar industry will install a cumulative 324 GWdc of new capacity"

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It may or may not be a coincidence, given that Democrats took control of the Virginia General Assembly in January 2020 and passed major clean energy legislation (the Virginia Clean Economy Act, etc.), but according to a brand-new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) “California, Texas and Florida are the top three states for annual solar capacity additions for the second straight year, and Virginia joins them as a fourth state installing over 1 GWdc of solar PV” (note: h/t to Virginia Mercury for the “heads up” on this story) Check out the following table, which shows that Virginia added a whopping 1,406 megawatts of solar PV in 2020, leapfrogging us from #19 in the country to #4, behind three huge, sunny states, and just ahead of the Carolinas. Again, how much of this is due to the fact that solar power (as well as wind power) now is the best choice not just environmentally, but economically as well? Still, that doesn’t really explain why Virginia, per se, shot up the rankings relative to other states, as the environmental and economic benefits of solar power apply to all of them. So here’s a quick thought experiment; do you think this jump in Virginia’s solar power rankings would have happened if Kirk Cox were still Speaker of the House of Delegates, Tommy Norment were still Senate Majority Leader and Amanda Chase or Pete Snyder were Governor? Hmmm…

With that, see below for some graphics, as well as a few other highlights from the new SEIA report, including:

  • “The year 2020 was a record-setting year for the solar industry, and it won’t be the last.”
  • “According to Wood Mackenzie’s 10-year forecast, the U.S. solar industry will install a cumulative 324 GWdc of new capacity to reach a total of 419 GWdc over the next decade… In total, the operating solar fleet is expected to quadruple from nearly 100 GWdc of capacity installed today…”  (To put that in perspective, total U.S. power generating capacity as of March 2020 was about 1,200 GW, with solar additions over the next decade amounting to about 1/4 of that total…which is a lot!)
  • “For the second year in a row, solar led all technologies in new electric-generating capacity added, accounting for 43%” (Basically, at this point, it makes no sense to install any new fossil-fired power plant capacity in the U.S., and you can see that in 2020, about 81% of newly installed U.S. power generating capacity was solar or wind, with the remainder mostly being natural gas)
  • “[G]eographic diversity also continued to increase in 2020 with 27 states each adding more than 100 MW”

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