The utility-scale solar power penetration in the U.S. increased to 2.2% in 2020 from 1.7% in 2019 as more companies continue to adjust their fuel mix in favor of renewable resources. Total solar generation for the nation was up 23.7% to 88.9 million MWh, from 71.9 million MWh in 2019, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.
At the same time, total generation in the U.S. declined in 2020 compared to 2019 by 117.9 million MWh, or 2.9%, due to demand depressed by the coronavirus pandemic. Only two subregions, covering Alaska and most of Florida, saw increases in overall generation in 2020 compared to the prior year. The analysis excludes Canadian portions of NERC subregions.
The California-Mexico area, or CAMX, which covers an area close to the California ISO market, supplied the largest amount of solar generation in the U.S. in 2020 among all North American Electric Reliability Corp. subregions, at 34.7 million MWh. It is also the subregion with the highest solar penetration rate, at 16.1%. The subregion covers most of California and a bordering region of Baja Mexico.
CAMX produced 39% of the total U.S. solar-powered generation in 2020, the latest year for which plant-level production data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is available.
The Hawaii subregion notched a solar penetration rate of 5.3%, amounting to 483,642 MWh, in 2020. The subregion showed the largest year-over-year percentage increase in solar penetration, up 2.6 percentage points.