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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for May 2015  |  Release Date: July 27, 2015  |  Next Release Date: August 25, 2015

Previous Issues

Highlights: May 2015

  • The Northeast and MidAtlantic had the largest increase in net generation compared to the previous May, as many states in these regions experienced significantly above average or record temperatures during May 2015.
  • 12-month low wholesale electricity prices were set in the Midwest (MISO), Louisiana (into Entergy), the Southwest (Palo Verde), and Southern California (CAISO) due to very low natural gas prices.
  • Hawaii's retail electricity revenue per kilowatthour fell the most of any state for the fifth month in a row, down 24% from last May.

Key Indicators

  May 2015 % Change from May 2014
Total Net Generation
(Thousand MWh)
321,906 -0.7%
Residential Retail Price
(cents/kWh)
12.95 0.9%
Retail Sales
(Thousand MWh)
285,707 -0.9%
Cooling Degree-Days 126 5.0%
Natural Gas Price, Henry Hub
($/MMBtu)
2.91 -38.0%
Natural Gas Consumption
(Mcf)
764,989 13.3%
Coal Consumption
(Thousand Tons)
57,309 -10.5%
Coal Stocks
(Thousand Tons)
174,558 27.9%
Nuclear Generation
(Thousand MWh)
65,833 4.6%



Residential solar PV capacity surpasses commercial solar PV capacity in 2014

This article uses net metering capacity data from Form EIA-826 "Monthly Electric Utility Sales and Revenue Report with State Distributions," which collects data on installed PV solar capacity as reported by electric utilities as facilities that participate in their net metering programs. The respondents of this survey represent a sample of electric utilities in the US and therefore this data underestimates the total amount of net metered capacity.

For the first time, residential photovoltaic (PV) capacity has surpassed commercial PV capacity. According to preliminary EIA data, in the third quarter of 2014, residential PV capacity exceeded commercial PV capacity by 5.7%.This gap widened to 11.4% by the fourth quarter of 2014.

In 2014, the average quarterly growth of solar PV capacity was 11% in the residential sector compared to a 6% average quarterly growth in the commercial sector. The number of net metering customers in 2014 showed a 10% average quarterly growth in the residential sector and a 5% average quarterly growth in the commercial sector. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), "ongoing strength in the residential sector and volatility in the non-residential market spurred this historic milestone." (Source: SEIA).

Residential solar surpasses commercial solar beginning in the second quarter of 2014. Residential solar PV capacity increased by 52% from second quarter 2013 to second quarter 2014, while commercial solar PV capacity increased by 29% over that period. The number of residential meters installed during that period grew by 48% versus 26% in the commercial sector.

The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) states that, "Though the availability of capital for non-residential solar has vastly increased over the past five years, it has remained exceedingly difficult to finance and develop small commercial solar projects. These projects often have varying contract terms, power purchasers without credit ratings or easily assessed creditworthiness, and site-specific project requirements." (Source: SEIA).

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Electric Utility Sales and Revenue Report with State Distributions (Form EIA-826)


At the state level in 2014, California continued to lead, with 37% growth in installed residential solar PV capacity and meters, followed by 32% growth in Arizona, and 20% growth in Hawaii. California also accounted for more than 50% of the solar residential meters installed in the United States as of 2014. Declining costs are a possible reason for the increase in residential solar PV capacity and the number of meters installed. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) states that, "Sustained growth can be attributed to a precipitous decline in installed system prices spurred by declining equipment costs and increasing productivity - all signs of a maturing solar industry." Also, SEIA states that, "with prices decreasing, solar companies have created new and better ways to make solar available and attractive to more customers. In the residential market, the advent of financial solutions including power-purchase agreements (PPAs), leases, and increasingly solar-optimized loans has opened up a wide swath of demand that previously did not exist." (Source: SEIA).

Top 5 States for Residential PV
(as of 12/31/2014)
State Capacity (MW) Number of Meters
United States 3,276 611,218
California 1,560 317,249
Arizona 314 49,959
Hawaii 231 49,946
New Jersey 206 28,357
New York 165 25,644
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Electric Utility Sales and Revenue Report with State Distributions (Form EIA-826)

In the commercial sector in 2014, solar PV capacity grew by 16% in California, 4% in New Jersey, and 30% in Massachusetts, the three largest states in terms of installed commercial PV capacity and meters. The growth in Massachusetts is , in part, the result of several large retailers in Massachusetts adopting solar, including Walmart, Staples, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and IKEA (Source: SEIA).

Top 5 States for Commercial PV
(as of 12/31/2014)
State Capacity (MW) Number of Meters
United States 2,939 41,044
California 732 10,175
New Jersey 608 4,106
Massachusetts 363 2,033
Arizona 247 1,723
New York 144 3,520
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Electric Utility Sales and Revenue Report with State Distributions (Form EIA-826)

Principal Contributor:

Lolita Jamison
(Lolita.Jamison@eia.gov)

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