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Biden To Announce Target Of 45% Solar-Powered Electricity By 2050

The Biden Administration is preparing to announce this week a goal of making solar energy account for as much as 45 percent of U.S. electricity generation by 2050, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Solar power, including photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal, accounted for 2.3 percent of America’s utility-scale electricity generation in 2020, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

To compare, the share of fossil fuels reached 60.3 percent, with natural gas leading with 40.3 percent of utility-scale electricity generation, followed by coal with 19.3 percent.

Total renewable power generation, including from hydropower, accounted for 19.8 percent of U.S. utility-scale electricity generation last year, as per EIA data.

President Joe Biden has set a goal to have the U.S. use 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. The solar energy plan the officials have prepared lacks in details but outlines a highly ambitious goal: have solar provide 45 percent of U.S. power in 2050.

According to DOE’s report the NYT cites, the United States has to double the amount of solar energy installed every year over the next four years compared with 2020. After that, solar installations every year must double again by 2030.   

The Quarterly Solar Industry Update by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) showed in June that the United States installed 4.0 GW of PV in the first quarter of 2021, which was its largest Q1 total ever.

Texas, Florida, and California represented half of U.S. PV capacity installed in Q1 2021. Despite a concentration of PV installations in the top three markets, diversification of growth continues across the United States, the update says.

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Estimates from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie showed that in the first quarter of 2021, solar accounted for 58 percent of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the U.S. Wind installations accounted for most of the remaining new capacity. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the U.S. solar industry will install an additional 160 GW of capacity over the next 5 years, compared to 102.8 GWdc of total installed capacity now, the U.S. Solar Market Insight of SEIA and WoodMac found.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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