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Solar Power Outpaces Hydroelectric

The U.S. will produce 14% more electricity from solar power than from hydroelectric in 2024, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Why it’s happening: The rapid growth in utility-scale and small-scale solar power plants is behind the surge.

  • “From 2009 to 2022, installed solar capacity increased at an average rate of 44% per year, and installed hydroelectric capacity increased by less than 1% each year.”

​​​​​​​Wind, too: Domestic wind power is also on the rise, having outstripped hydroelectric power in 2019. In fact, the trends are related:

  • “The growth of U.S. solar and U.S. wind generation are following a similar pattern, both largely following growth in installed capacity.”

Incentives matter: One reason behind the increase in installations is the expansion of government incentives, including investment tax credits.

The NAM’s take: “The data clearly shows important growth in the clean energy space,” said NAM Director of Domestic Policy Mike Davin.

  • “However, the stagnant licensing and permitting process for new and existing hydropower assets is another reason we likely won’t see this clean energy source reach its full electricity-generation potential.”
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