|EIA now provides monthly state-level estimates of small-scale solar PV capacity and generation
December 1, 2015--With the release of today's Electric Power Monthly (EPM), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) begins regular reporting of monthly estimates of small-scale distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation and capacity by state and sector. Until now, EIA had provided monthly state-level data only for utility-scale generation sources, including solar, but only annual national-level generation and capacity estimates for small-scale solar PV.
EIA estimates total U.S. solar generation was 3.5 million megawatthours in September 2015, with 33% coming from small-scale solar PV and 67% from utility-scale solar. Overall U.S. solar generation was equivalent to about 1% of the total reported electricity generation from all utility-scale sources of 351 million megawatthours in September 2015.
"Generation from roof-top PV systems has become an increasingly important part of total solar generation in the United States. The new monthly reporting on small-scale distributed solar PV systems gives the country a better way to track their contribution to the nation's electricity supply," said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski.
U.S. estimated distributed and utility-scale solar PV generation and capacity, Jan 2014 - Sept 2015
Small-scale distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, such as those found on residential and commercial rooftops, have grown significantly in the United States over the past several years. Small-scale PV installations are often called "behind-the-meter," "customer-sited," or "distributed generation" capacity. Although each distributed PV system is very small—a typical size for residential PV systems is 5 kilowatts (kW) or 0.005 megawatts (MW)—there are hundreds of thousands of these systems across the country that together add up to a substantial amount of capacity.
Almost 40% of the distributed PV capacity in the United States is located in California. The next nine states after California account for another 44% (see graphic). California's leadership in distributed solar capacity is driven by a combination of factors, including high electricity prices, a large population, strong solar resources, and state policies and incentives that support solar PV.