Full year 2016 data just released from EIA shows that combined wind and solar reached 7% of total US electricity generation. In a system that produced a total of 4096 TWh, combined wind and solar provided 283 TWh. Breaking that down a bit further, wind provided 226.5 TWh; utility scale solar (both thermal and PV) provided 36.75 TWh; and small scale, distributed solar provided 19.5 TWh. That last figure is the one to watch. In a system that’s been plodding along without growth for a decade, producing 4000 TWh year after year, small scale solar has become an important force at the margin.
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Photo: Occidental College solar array, Los Angeles, by Gregor Macdonald