May 11 (Renewables Now) - Annual solar power generation in the US has increased to 77 million MWh in 2017 and thus, for the first time, surpassed biomass to become the third-most prevalent renewable electricity source in the country.
This includes 50 million MWh from large-scale solar systems and 24 million MWh from small-scale solar systems.
The latest statistics cited by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that hydropower and wind continue to be the two top renewable energy sources with respective 2017 generation of 300 million MWh and 254 million MWh. Biomass was fourth with 64 million MWh produced.
EIA noted that 21% of all solar capacity additions for 2017 took place in December, so many plants have had no time to contribute to total generation. The data takes into consideration three types of solar: small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV), utility-scale solar PV and solar thermal power. When it comes to the latter type, no new capacity additions have been registered since 2015, when the 110-MW Crescent Dunes concentrating solar power (CSP) plant initiated production.
EIA expects an additional 5,067 MW of large-scale PV plants to be put on stream by the end of this year.