Skip to main content.

Solar tops 50% of new U.S. power generation for the first time in 2023; Southern Company subsidiaries help lead the way

Solar energy accounted for more than half of new U.S. electricity generating capacity for the first time ever in 2023, according to a report from consulting firm Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)..

Last year, the United States saw a record 32.4 gigawatts of new solar power generating capacity added to the grid, up 51% from 2022, according to the report. That 2023 total also represents a 37% increase from the previous record, set in 2021. Utility-scale installations accounted for 69% of total new solar capacity additions, followed by residential solar at 21%. Community solar accounted for around 3.5% of new solar capacity.

In the Southeast, Southern Company and its subsidiaries are leading the way in this solar expansion. As we work across the company to enable a net-zero transition, our renewables portfolio continues to grow. Across the Southern Company system of retail electric utilities, more than 2,800 MW of solar generating capacity has been added since 2015. The company plans to nearly triple solar capacity by the early 2030s and in total, expects to have approximately 20,000 MW of renewable capacity and storage by 2030.

“Carbon-free solar generation resources are an instrumental component of our energy mix as we build the energy network of the future,” said Clay Rikard, Southern Company vice president of System Planning. "We expect solar generation to continue its accelerated growth trajectory across our service territory as we transition our electric generating fleet in pursuit of our goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our customers and communities depend on the clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy we serve every day – and we’re committed to keeping them at the center of everything we do.”

Georgia has ranked in the top 10 for annual solar capacity additions in the U.S. for each the past three years. Georgia Power recently advised regulators that adding some 10,000 MW of solar capacity to their generation fleet by 2035 can potentially stimulate economic benefits for that state.

In addition to Southern Company’s retail electric utilities, the company’s wholesale energy subsidiary, Southern Power, currently owns or operates more than 2,740 MW of solar generating capacity at 30 facilities nationwide*. Southern Power helps serve the energy needs of municipalities, electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities and other energy customers across the nation.

While various policy and economic factors could impact the continued growth of solar in the U.S., the outlook is currently optimistic. “If we stay the course with policies in the IRA, solar capacity will quadruple over the next 10 years,” said SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.

* Some 250 MW of this amount is under contract to Georgia Power and is included in the 2,800 MW value cited above. Also, 26 of these facilities are co-owned by third parties, with Southern Power having majority ownership.


Stay up to date on the latest company news

Sign up to receive email notifications