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Government data reports unprecedented capacity growth of American solar energy: 'The inevitable winner'

In simpler terms: Solar energy is on the way up and coal burning is on the way down.

In simpler terms: Solar energy is on the way up and coal burning is on the way down.

Photo Credit: iStock

According to new data released by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, solar energy capacity is expanding in the United States at an unprecedented pace.

In the first month of 2024, solar accounted for 2,527 megawatts (MW) of new installed generating capacity, 87.3% of all new energy capacity, as Electrek summarized

According to Electrek, that brings the total available installed generating capacity of renewable energy sources (solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, and geothermal) up to 376.33 gigawatts (GW), or 29.17% of all U.S. generating capacity. That is almost double the installed capacity of coal (207.15 GW).

In simpler terms: Solar energy is on the way up and coal burning is on the way down.

That's a big deal for the planet, as coal, one of the main types of dirty energy that our society has relied on for too long, creates massive amounts of air pollution and planet-overheating gas. 

Solar, conversely, is clean, renewable energy that can be harvested from the sun indefinitely. Although some pollution is created during the production of solar panels and related technology, it is vastly less than the total amount of pollution created by coal and other forms of dirty energy, such as methane gas (the main component in "natural gas").

While proponents of dirty energy (who are often lobbyists employed by the industry) have attempted to convince policymakers and the public that we will never be able to generate enough clean energy to fully replace gas and oil, the numbers show that's not the case. In California, for instance, renewable energy recently generated 100% of the state's demand for most of a monthlong period.

"If only we could be sure the sun was always going to be there for us. And we wouldn't have to fight over its availability because some have it, and some don't. One day we'll find a clean, never-ending energy source, one day," one commenter wrote, sarcastically.

"Solar is the inevitable winner. The bigger challenge is that we keep coming up with new ways to use electricity: bitcoin mining, data centers, margarita mixers, etc," another pointed out.

"Everything beats 'clean' coal," wrote a third.

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