Solar to be No. 1 in US for new 2021 electricity generating capacity

The addition of utility-scale solar capacity is expected to set a new record by adding 15.4 GW of capacity to the US grid in 2021, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced today.

Solar leads the 2021 pack with 39% of total new US electricity generating capacity. It’s followed by wind (31%, or 12.2 GW), natural gas (16%, or 6.6 GW), battery storage (11%, or 4.3 GW), nuclear (3%, or 1.1 GW), and Other, at 0.2 GW.


2021’s expected 15.4 GW of solar will exceed 2020’s nearly 12 GW increase, based on reported additions through October (6 GW) and scheduled additions for the last two months of 2020 (5.7 GW).

Four states will be home to more than half of the new utility-scale solar photovoltaic capacity: Texas (28%), Nevada (9%), California (9%), and North Carolina (7%).

As Electrek previously reported, Texas will host the largest solar project in the US, the Samson Solar Energy Center, which will be constructed in five phases over the next three years, with each phase commencing operation upon completion in 2023.


Another 12.2 GW of wind capacity is scheduled to come online in 2021. Last year, 21 GW of wind came online.

Texas and Oklahoma account for more than half of the 2021 wind capacity additions. The 12-MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project, located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, is also scheduled to start commercial operation in early 2021.

Natural gas

Natural gas is a dirty fossil fuel. Planned natural gas capacity additions are reported at 6.6 GW, mainly in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Battery storage

EIA expects the capacity of utility-scale battery storage to more than quadruple; 4.3 GW of battery power capacity additions are expected to come online by the end of 2021. This is because battery storage goes hand-in-hand with green energy.

The world’s largest solar-powered battery (409 MW) is under construction at Manatee Solar Energy Center in Florida; the battery is scheduled to be operational by late 2021.

 In the annual survey, EIA asks respondents to provide planned online dates for generators coming online in the next five years. The monthly survey tracks the status of generators coming online in the coming year based on reported in-service dates.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.