2016 is shaping up to be a milestone year for energy, and when the final accounting is done, one of the biggest winners is likely to be solar power. For the first time, more electricity-generating capacity from solar power plants is expected to have been built in the U.S. than from natural gas and wind, U.S. Department of Energy data show. Though the final tally won’t be in until March, enough new solar power plants were expected to be built in 2016 to total 9.5 gigawatts of solar power generating capacity, tripling the new solar capacity built in 2015. That’s enough to light up more than 1.8 million homes. The solar farms built in 2016 were expected to exceed the 8 gigawatts of natural gas power generating capacity and the 6.8 gigawatts of wind power slated for construction this year. No new coal-fired power plants were planned in 2016.
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