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Of New Power Generation, How Much is on the Roof?

| Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 29, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Each quarter, several sources report on the new power plants built in the United States. Since 2012, there’s been a surge the share of new power generation coming from solar power. In that year, solar represented 10% of new power capacity. It rose to 40% in 2013 and has been 30% or higher in the years since.

Even more remarkably is how home and business rooftops with solar are becoming the power plants of the future. In 2013, more than 12% of new power capacity came from small-scale solar, rising to 16% through the first three quarters of 2016. The following two charts show the new power capacity additions annually since 2003 and quarterly back to 2014. We’ll post updates quarterly.

Annual New Power Plant Capacity

Quarterly New Power Plant Capacity


While the fight against solar energy is strong in some places (such as Arizona or Nevada), communities (as well as rural electric cooperatives) around the country are developing their own community-owned renewable energy resources, and even seizing upon new technologies such as microgrids to take control of their energy future.

Combined with energy storage, distributed solar is changing the calculus of energy companies, requiring utilities to adapt or start losing their customers.

These charts help illustrate the change, and we’ll keep you up to date every quarter!

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