7.2 gigawatts of new power generation capacity came online in the third quarter of 2023. Half of that capacity (3.6 gigawatts) was large-scale solar alone, while small-scale solar contributed nearly a third with a record-setting 2.1 gigawatts. Wind power development stalled at only 88 megawatts. 1.5 gigawatts of fossil gas generation capacity came online this quarter, a significant drop from the previous quarter, but comparable to the third quarter of 2022.
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.
- 79 percent of all generation capacity installed in the third quarter of 2023 was solar; 50 percent from utility-scale solar farms and 29 percent from small solar installations (residential, commercial, and community solar).
- Small-scale solar set a new quarterly record with 2.1 gigawatts AC installed — marking the first time this figure has climbed over two gigawatts. As Californians rush to take advantage of NEM 2.0, a new quarterly record is likely coming in the fourth quarter of 2023. Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association report, however, that high interest rates will contract the market for small solar next year.
- 2.5 gigawatts of utility-scale storage came online in the second quarter of 2023.
For more on the advancement of clean, distributed energy, see these recent ILSR resources:
- Community Solar Tracker
- Virginia’s Community Solar Program
- New Paths for Rural Electric Co-op Revival — Episode 196 of Local Energy Rules
- Report: Will Long-Term Co-op Contracts Give Way to Affordable Clean Energy?
- Utilities Aren’t Telling the Whole Truth About Solar Costs
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)