Is 2020 the year of Renewable Energy?

future of renewable energy

There is some promising news this year if you look to the world of renewable energy.  Brand new data confirms that during the first five months of 2020, renewables produced significantly more electricity than either coal or nuclear power.

If you’re wondering what the future of renewable energy is, you might not have to wait long to find out. On one hand, coal production is slowing, and on the other, alternative energy sources are producing more than ever before. Let’s take a look at the data.

Coal Production Drops

First off, we have coal production which has been going strong since 1978.

But according to the data analyzed, it was confirmed that in 2020 U.S. coal production fell to its lowest level since 1978, the same year as the national coal miner’s strike.

importance of renewable energy

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Coal Report

This comes from data analyzed by the Sun Day Campaign, a non-profit research and educational organization with a mission of promoting sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.(1) The data itself was just released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). (2)

Renewable Energy Keeps Climbing

Meanwhile, renewable energy’s electricity production keeps climbing. Solar and wind both showed continued, strong growth, expanding faster than all other energy sources. (3)

Here is a breakdown of the stats:

  • Solar-generated electricity expanded by 23.1% (compared to 2019)
  • Solar provided nearly 3.3% of the nation’s total electricity
  • Wind grew by 11.5% and was more than 9.3% of total generation
  • Net electrical generation by wind and solar is 14.2% greater than a year ago
  • Solar and wind provided 12.6% (more than one-eighth) of total U.S. electrical production during the first five months of 2020
  • All combined renewables provided 22.3% of total electrical output (up from 20.2% a year earlier)
  • Renewables produced over a third (34.3%) more electricity than coal through May 2020
  • Electrical generation by coal was 33.9% lower than a year earlier and accounted for just 16.6% of the total
  • May – for the second month in a row – non-hydro renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) generated more electricity than coal

The Future of Renewable Energy

Is 2020 the year that renewable energy surpasses energy production from either coal or nuclear? This is precisely what the SUN Day Campaign has been forecasting.

Data analyzed for just the month of May could be an early indication of how these numbers may continue to climb and what effect the pandemic has on competing energy sources.

  • Renewables outperformed nuclear power by 20.8%
  • Net electrical generation by coal was 35.3% less than a year
  • Net electrical generation by nuclear was 4.1% less than a year
  •  total electrical generation by all renewable energy sources combined rose by 6.4%
  • Non-hydro renewables provided 12.2% more electricity than a year earlier
  • 8.5% increase in wind generation

And the most exciting news:


A 30.1% increase in solar generation in May 2020 than a year earlier


“With each passing month, it is becoming ever more probable that renewables will outpace both this year and then begin closing the gap with natural gas,” Says Ken Bossong, director of the SUN Day Campaign.

Stay ahead of the renewable energy trend and find out more about how solar can help save on your electricity bill. Simply reach out to us today!




Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

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