Eight gigawatts of new power generation capacity came online in the first quarter of 2023. For the third quarter in a row, over half of new generation was solar power (4.5 gigawatts). This was the strongest ever first quarter for the solar industry. Wind farm development slowed from the previous quarter, while fossil gas bounced back from its slowest quarter in two years.
In the chart below, we illustrate the past two years of new electric power capacity in the U.S., disaggregated by energy source on a quarterly basis.
- Distributed solar buildout continues to show steady acceleration – and the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act have yet to kick in.
- Utility-scale solar development in the first quarter of 2023 matched the growth rates seen in 2022. Considering how solar development peaks at the end of the year, this was the strongest first quarter yet for the solar industry overall (big and small solar).
- Wind power development was relatively slow in the first quarter of 2023, with only 1.5 gigawatts of new utility-scale wind farms. All of this new wind generation capacity is onshore.
- After their very meager end to 2022, fossil gas plants had a resurgence in the first quarter of 2023.
- 400 megawatts of utility-scale storage came online in the first quarter of 2023.
For more on the advancement of clean, distributed energy, see these recent ILSR resources:
- Report: How Local Ownership of Clean Energy Boosts Benefits, Busts Barriers, and Builds Power
- National Community Solar Programs Tracker
- Scoring Justice in Clean Energy Standards — Episode 185 of Local Energy Rules
- Minnesota’s Community Solar Program
- The Value Idling in Electric Vehicles — Episode 182 of Local Energy Rules
- The State(s) of Distributed Solar — 2022 Update
Interested in earlier trends and analysis of new power plant capacity? Check out our archive, illustrating how electricity generation has changed in previous quarters and years.
Featured Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)