Outrun Change

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How much of our electricity comes from solar? Rounded to nearest percent, that would be zero.

I’ve seen comments that rounded to the nearest whole percent, solar power provides 0% of our electricity.

Finally found a way to test that data.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has an Short-Term Energy Outlook report which has a data tab.

Figure 25 shows the sources of electricity generation. In thousands of megawatt hours (that would be gigawatt hours) for 2014 and 2015:

  •   2014    2015    source
  •     770      813    all renewables
  • 11,214 11,309   total (gWh)
  •    6.9%    7.2%    renewables as percent of total

Figure 26 shows a breakout of renewable energy sources by type. In quadrillion BTUs, here is the actual and projected data:

  •   2014    2015    source
  • 1.729   1.807   wind (quadrillion btu)
  • 0.427   0.524   solar
  • 19.4%  20.5%  portion of renewable from wind
  •   4.8%    5.9%  portion of renewable from solar

So that means that in 2014, wind farms generated 19.4% of the amount from renewables, which renewables in turn generated 6.9% of the total electricity.

Multiply 19.4% times 6.9% and we find 1.33% of electricity comes from slice-and-dicers.

For solar power, multiply the 4.8% of renewables from solar by the 6.9% of total electricity from renewables and we find that 0.33% of electricity comes from wing-toasters.

Thus, rounded to the nearest percentage point, in 2014 we got 1% of electricity from wind and 0% from solar.

Projected for 2015 is 1.48% from wind and 0.42% from solar, so again rounded to 1% and 0%.

Did I miss something in my math or logic?

(Hat tip to Million Dollar Way.)

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One thought on “How much of our electricity comes from solar? Rounded to nearest percent, that would be zero.

  1. Pingback: Ivanpah running at 40% of expected output while killing about 3,500 birds a year | Outrun Change

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