The US Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecasted that solar will result in 14% of total energy generation in the US by 2035 and 20% by 2050. Earlier in 2020, solar power accounted for only 3% of U.S. electricity generation from all sources.
The forecasted figures are inclusive of electricity produced from both small-scale (>1 MW) and utility-scale (of 1 MWt or more generating capacity) in the residential, electric power, industrial and commercial sectors.
According to EIA, power generation which increases in small-scale solar, especially in the residential and commercial sectors, has driven early growth in U.S. solar electricity net generation.
Small-scale solar was valued for 68% of U.S. total solar electricity net generation in 2011. Although, utility-scale solar generation augmented significantly during the last 10 years as normal construction costs for solar power plants fell.
EIA said that in its long-term projections, most electric power will be generated using solar, increasing to 78% in 2050 from 68% of total power generation in 2020.
The rising share of utility-scale generation is outstanding in part to the availability of a 10% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) after 2023. Additionally, the ITC for small-scale solar has expired.
In one case where natural gas prices were higher than in baseline assumptions, EIA stated that solar generation could reach around 25% of total generation by the mid-century.
In another case where the costs of installed renewables are lower than in the baseline scenario, solar generation was estimated to make up to 27% of total power generation by 2050.
As per a forecast published last spring, solar was dignified to perceive five years of record-setting large-scale capacity additions. Both large- and small-scale solar are estimated to grow during the years when tax credit extensions are available.