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Renewables' market share grows to 13.4% in 2015

The market share of renewable generationin the United States rose to 13.4% in 2015 from 13.1% the year prior. While theoverall increase in renewable generation was small on a percentage basis, shiftsin the fuel type breakout were noteworthy. The 0.3 percentage point increasein renewable generation was derived from percentage point increases of 0.3 in windgeneration and a 0.2 increase in solar generation. It was offset by a 0.2 percentagepoint decrease in hydro generation.

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In 2014, the largest portions of the renewable market share wereheld by water, at 48.2%, and wind, at 33.7%. This was supplemented by 11.9% attributableto biomass, 2.9% to geothermal and 3.3% to solar. In 2015, every renewable fueltype saw an increase except water, with solar and wind energy gaining 1.5 percentagepoints and 1 percentage point, respectively, in market share. These increases weredriven by capacity additions of approximately 3,000 MW for solar and 8,000 MW forwind.

In total, 36,777 MW of new renewable capacity is scheduled tocome online next year, though typically some of this will be delayed or canceledby developers. Solar has 17,990 MW scheduled to come online in 2016 — 5x more thanwas installed the previous year — while wind has over 18,127 MW expected to comeonline in 2016, double the amount installed in 2015.

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Hydroelectric power continues to hold the lion's share of renewablegeneration, at 45.7% in 2015. However, barely any new capacity has been slated tocome online in 2016. A scant 366 MW of hydro is scheduled to be added, and in thefollowing two years, these capacity additions are being completely overshadowedby solar, and wind.

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This massive amount of solar and wind renewable capacity slatedto come online should be the main driver behind the gain in market share expectedfor the renewable sector in 2016. In 2015, renewable capacity increased to 209,509MW from 197,990 MW in 2014, resulting in a year-over-year increase of 5.8%. Solarand wind capacity increased to 88,816 MW in 2015 from 77,488 MW in 2014, resultingin a year-over-year increase of 14.6%.

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