Utility-scale solar didn’t begin ramping up until 2010, and it now represents over half of new additions to the U.S. grid.

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Looking at the profile of energy infrastructure buildout today offers a vision into the future. It is clear that the U.S. energy grid’s future will be dominantly characterized by renewable energy, as the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shared that solar, wind, and battery energy storage technologies are now 82% of new capacity additions actively planned to come online.

Utility-scale solar is still quite young, as substantial capacity additions did not come online until 2010. Wind began its contributions closer to the turn of the millennia. Now, as of January 2023, 73.5 GW of utility-scale solar is online, about 6% of U.S. generating capacity.

Just over half of planned U.S. generation is solar. If all planned projects come online as expected this year, 2023 will mark the most capacity added to the grid for solar yet.

While there have been bumps along the road, the inevitable energy transition, boosted by the emergence of mission-driven investing, has attracted “an unprecedented wave of investment”, said Andrew Redinger, Managing Director and Group Head of Utility, Power & Renewable Energy for KeyBanc Capital Markets, in a white paper.

Bloomberg NEF reports that global investment in renewables totaled $226 billion in the first half of 2022, an increase of 11% year-over-year from 1H 2021. In the last 24 months, the KeyBanc director said renewable energy in the institutional investment world has gone “from niche to mainstream.”

Battery energy storage is stepping forward out of its nascence now, as grid planners call for more energy storage to make use of intermittent renewable energy generation. In 2023, developers plan to add 8.6 GW of battery energy storage capacity to the grid, doubling total battery power capacity in the U.S. in one year...

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