The United States is set to shatter its previous year’s record for solar and wind energy production, according to new data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The data comes as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks to slash federal funding for wind and solar, as well as other renewable energy programs.
The National Renewal Project (NEP), a federal agency that administers federal subsidies for renewable energy projects, said on Wednesday that 2017 was the first time it had seen such an energy record in the US.NREL also released a new report showing that California’s wind energy sector generated 1.4 gigawatts of electricity last year, nearly double the previous record set in 2012, while the number of solar panels installed nationwide fell from nearly a billion in 2016 to about 400,000 in 2017.
“California has been a leader in the growth of renewables,” said NREL Director John King, in a statement.
“This record-setting year shows that we can achieve our goals while also creating a strong economic recovery for California’s workforce.”
California is the second state to record more than a gigawatt of solar and solar energy production in a single year, after Massachusetts’ record in 2016.
That year’s figure was more than 9 gigawatts.
The state has been pushing to increase its renewable energy generation capacity, and it has signed up for over 50 GW of new solar panels.
But its total installed capacity is far less than it needs, due to a long-term glut of panels.
California’s solar and other renewable generation grew by just under 6 GW in 2017, according the NREL report.
It was the second straight year that California saw a jump in its solar generation, which the NRC says has surpassed the country’s total installed renewable energy capacity for the first five years of the century.
The NREL, a government research organization, said in its report that the solar industry is still in its infancy, with more than 1,200 MW of solar installations and more than 500 MW of wind generation.