Contemporary society has become energy-hungry. At the same time, people realize that fossil fuels are finite and the earth fragile, meaning that the day will come - some say it's long past - when alternative energy sources will be a need, not a luxury. Some favor heavy investment in and widespread accessibility of nature-friendly solar energy, a relatively inexpensive option already and certainly endless in supply. A key issue is storage and transmission to address seasonal variation - during winter months the capacity factor averages 15% lower - and weather patterns.
In 2016, the United States ranked third globally in solar energy generation:
According to the same EIA report, in 2014, California produced at least 5 percent of the state's electricity from utility-scale solar plants. Utility-scale generators are those with at least one MegaWatt (MW) of capacity. Utility-scale facilities made up almost two-thirds of California's total solar energy generation capacity as of February 2017, pushing Calfornia to the forefront of solar generation in the US. California now generates more than 40 percent of the total solar power of the United States.
The Energy Data Brief offers key statistics designed to help energy market watchers anticipate and respond to developments in the energy sector as well as changes in related industries and investments.