A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects 54% of new electric-generating capacity in the U.S. to come from solar energy for 2023. Developers are planning to add 54.5 gigawatts of new utility-scale electric-generating capacity to the country’s power grid this year, most of it being solar, according to EIA’s Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, in which developers and power plant operators report upcoming projects to EIA.
Developers have about 29.1 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity planned for 2023, following a recent decline of 23% from 2022 compared to 2021. Prior to that decline, solar electric-generating capacity had been rising since 2010, but supply chain issues and the pandemic lead to a decline last year. EIA predicts that delayed projects from 2022 may be part of the high percentage of the electric-generating capacity coming from solar projects for 2023.
EIA also noted that should all of these planned projects go into operations for 2023, this year will have the highest amount of utility-scale solar capacity added in one year. The current record is 13.4 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity added in 2021.
Texas will be home to the highest amount of new solar capacity at 7.7 gigawatts, followed by California at 4.2 gigawatts.
After solar, battery storage makes up the next highest percentage of new utility-scale electric-generating capacity in the U.S. for 2023, comprising 17% of projects planned for the year. Developers expect to add 9.4 gigawatts to the country’s current 8.8 gigawatts of battery storage electric-generating capacity.
“Battery storage systems are increasingly installed with wind and solar power projects,” EIA explained. “Wind and solar are intermittent sources of generation; they only produce electricity when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. Batteries can store excess electricity from wind and solar generators for later use. In 2023, we expect 71% of the new battery storage capacity will be in California and Texas, states with significant solar and wind capacity.”
Other utility-scale electric-generating capacity projects include 7.5 gigawatts of natural gas, with the two largest projects planned for Ohio and Illinois, 6.0 gigawatts of wind power, primarily planned for Texas, and 2.2 gigawatts of nuclear energy. For the first time in over 30 years, two new nuclear reactors have been built in the U.S. and are expected to come online this year, following a long, several-year delay.
In 2023, EIA reported that only one offshore wind project is expected to begin operations this year, the South Fork Wind plant off of New York.