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ILSR’s Distributed Solar Capacity Quarterly Update

| Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 14, 2015 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Renewable energy continues to dominate new power plant capacity and distributed generation has contributed an increasingly large share. We’ve been tracking this phenomenon since April of 2014, and, finally, the Energy Information Administration has recognized the prevalence of distributed solar and is going to report estimates of this added capacity in their monthly updates. This is a big victory for tracking an individually-small but collectively-large power resource!

See previous updates: 2015 Q2, 2015 Q1, 2014 Q4, 2014 Q3, 2014 Q2

Renewables Dominate New Annual Capacity

It’s been nearly 10 years since fossil fuel power plants represented more than 60% of new power plant capacity (2006), and it looks like three years running where distributed solar will represent at least 10% of new power capacity. Below is the annual data since 2003.

us new power plant capacity 2003-2015 annual ILSR

Despite some fluctuation, when added capacity is broken down by quarter the growth of distributed solar has been consistently 10% or more of new power plant capacity. This has been aided by steeply falling prices and victories against utilities in the war on solar and other distributed power.
us new power plant capacity 2014-2015 quarterly ILSR

The growth in distributed solar continues to expand the opportunity for electric customers to own a slice of their energy future, an economic windfall that could cumulatively shift as much as $48 billion from electric utilities to their customers in the next 10 years.

This article originally posted at For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter or get the Democratic Energy weekly update.

Photo credit: Andrew _ B via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license)