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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for June 2015  |  Release Date: Aug. 26, 2015  |  Next Release Date: Sep. 24, 2015

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Highlights: June 2015

  • Daily peak electricity demand was high in many parts of the country during one of the warmest June's on record for many states.
  • Wholesale electricity prices remained moderate despite higher demand levels because of low natural gas prices, which approached $1/MMBtu at many locations during the month.
  • Hawaii's average revenue per kilowatthour was down 23%, the sixth month in a row Hawaii has had the largest decline of any state.

Key Indicators

  June 2015 % Change from June 2014
Total Net Generation
(Thousand MWh)
361,698 0.9%
Residential Retail Price
12.93 -0.4%
Retail Sales
(Thousand MWh)
323,094 1.2%
Cooling Degree-Days 256 7.6%
Natural Gas Price, Henry Hub
2.85 -39.5%
Natural Gas Consumption
920,110 22.3%
Coal Consumption
(Thousand Tons)
69,299 -7.0%
Coal Stocks
(Thousand Tons)
167,828 26.3%
Nuclear Generation
(Thousand MWh)
68,546 0.6%

Record utility-scale solar generation driven by photovoltaics in June 2015

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-923 Power Plant Operations Report.

Solar generation from utility-scale facilities (capacity of 1 megawatt [MW] or greater) hit a monthly record high of 2,765 gigawatthours (GWh) in June 2015. The June 2015 solar generation level represents a year-over-year increase of 35.8% relative to June 2014.

The main driver to this growth was the continued expansion of solar photovoltaic capacity, which increased by 47.5% from June 2014 to June 2015. Over that same period, solar thermal capacity increased by 18.1%. Solar electricity output in June is a good indicator of the recent growth of the solar industry because June has the highest monthly average of sunlight per day.

Electricity output of U.S. utility-scale solar generators in June 2015 was 31 times the level in June 2005. Between 2005 and 2010, the vast majority of utility-scale solar generation came from large solar thermal facilities. Solar thermal facilities accounted for about 85% of total annual utility-scale solar generation from 2005 to 2010.

Beginning in 2011, photovoltaic generation began to grow at a higher rate than thermal generation, even though solar thermal generation has continued to expand as well. In 2014, the photovoltaic share was 86.6% of the total solar generation supplied to the electricity grid, with the 2015 year-to-date share through June being 87.6%.

Most of the growth in U.S. utility scale solar generation is in California. In June 2015, well over half (56.5%) of total solar generation came from plants in California. Arizona (13.4%), North Carolina (6.7%), Nevada (6.4%), and New Jersey (3.3%), respectively, followed California as the largest solar contributors to the grid.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-923 Power Plant Operations Report.

Solar capacity in the United States has grown at smaller units on residential and commercial rooftops and at other smaller facilities as reported by distribution utilities, which are typically net-metered (see April 2014 Electric Monthly Update).

Generators, including utility-scale solar units that are expected to come online soon, are shown on this map.

Principal Contributor:

Paul McArdle

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