Curtis Tate Published

Big Increase For Solar, Dip For Coal, Forecast In Next Two Years

Black solar panels spread out over a rolling hill, with new grass planted below and a gravel road running between them.
The Fort Martin solar installation.
Curtis Tate/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Solar energy is forecast to erode coal’s share of the electricity market in the next two years.

Utility scale solar generation is set to increase 75 percent in 2024 and 2025, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Coal’s share of electricity will decrease 18 percent, according to the agency’s outlook. 

Coal production could fall to levels not seen in more than six decades. In Appalachia, production could fall to 110 million tons in 2025. For perspective, West Virginia alone produced more than 100 million tons as recently as 2019.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis called 2023 a pivotal year in the energy transition. Renewables, including wind, solar and hydro, outpaced coal for 257 days last year. That includes an uninterrupted period of 121 days from February to June.