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Fun Fact Friday: Geeking Out on Energy Data

December 13, 2013 - 3:00pm

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A photovoltaic system at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's National Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado.  In 2012, cumulative installed solar photovoltaic capacity in the United States grew more than 83% compared to the previous year. | Photo by Dennis Schroeder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

A photovoltaic system at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's National Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado. In 2012, cumulative installed solar photovoltaic capacity in the United States grew more than 83% compared to the previous year. | Photo by Dennis Schroeder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Renewables such as solar and wind are the fastest growing energy generation technologies in America. In 2012, cumulative installed solar photovoltaic capacity grew more than 83% compared to the previous year and cumulative installed wind energy capacity rose nearly 28%.  

The impressive figures are just a few interesting nuggets from the Energy Department’s 2012 Renewable Energy Data Book. Other key findings include:

  • Renewable electricity represented 14% of total installed capacity and more than 12% of total electric generation. In fact, installed renewable electricity capacity, or the maximum amount of electricity that can be generated, by the end of 2012 was more than 163 gigawatts (GW). Last year, renewables generated enough electricity to power about 44 million homes.
  • The installed global renewable electricity capacity, including hydropower, doubled since 2000, and represents a significant and growing portion of the total energy supply, both globally, and in the U.S.
  • Renewable electricity accounted for more than half of all new electrical capacity installations in the U.S. This is an astounding increase from 2004, when renewable electricity installations represented only 2% of new capacity additions.

The promising numbers all signal that America is increasingly moving to cleaner forms of energy that are paving the way for a more sustainable energy future.

Read the 2012 Renewable Energy Data Book in full and visit eere.energy.gov to learn more about how the Energy Department, in partnership with national laboratories, universities and industry, is helping advance the clean energy technologies of tomorrow. 

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