Solar trends in Southeast PA

With so many of our towns committing to transition to 100% renewable energy, we thought it was time to look at solar trends. Thanks to Steve Clark of our Ready for 100 team in Delaware County, who turned GATS (Generation Attribute Tracking System) data from PJM and produced these charts.

This chart compares cumulative installations over the last 9 years. It looks like Bucks County is leading, and Delaware County is trailing.

This second chart shows cumulative generation capacity over the same 9 years. We still have Bucks County leading and Delaware County trailing.

If you’re more of a numbers person instead of a charts person, Steve also offers this tabulation about average system size and annual installation count.

2016 – 2020BucksChesterDelawareMontgomeryPhiladelphia
average MW installed per year4.42.223.82.8
average number of installations per year409202266370318

When compared with our neighboring state of New Jersey, however, our efforts appear dim. The chart below is sorted by total generating capacity, in megawatts (MW).

StateCountyNumber of installationsMWpopulationsquare milesMW per square mileMW per 10,000 peopleaverage KW per installation
NJBurlington10,646375445,7028050.4668.41435.22
NJCamden9,423195506,7382220.8783.84820.69
NJGloucester9,349187291,1653250.5756.42220.00
NJMercer4,523173367,9222260.7654.70238.25
DEKent72341176,6998000.0512.32056.71
DENew Castle2,43540556,1654940.0810.71916.43
PABucks2,63035626,3776220.0560.55913.31
PAMontgomery2,50633808,9464870.0680.40813.17
PAChester1,65030506,1907600.0390.59318.18
PAPhiladelphia1,807221,548,6471430.1540.14212.17
PADelaware1,53613560,6991910.0680.2328.46

Within PA, Delaware and Philadelphia counties have the smallest average system size of 8.46 kW and 12.17 kW respectively, which seem to be in the range for residential systems. You’ll see that Philly has packed the most solar capacity per square mile, and Chester the most sprawled out, at 0.154 MW per square mile and 0.039 MW per square mile.

Here’s to a year spent changing these numbers. Please contact us with your interest and questions about transitioning to renewable energy — whether for your home or business.

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