How Renewable Energy Companies Are Leading the US to Net-Zero

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How Renewable Energy Companies Are Leading the US to Net-Zero



Renewable energy companies in the USA are leading the charge in the transition to a decarbonized economy. The renewable energy sector, already the second largest in the world, is poised for strong growth as demand for clean energy increases, costs fall, and incentives improve. This article provides an overview of the latest updates and details on the renewable energy market in the USA, as well as some of the top renewable energy companies that are driving innovation and investment.


A wind farm generating clean power from renewable energy sources


The Renewable Energy Market in the USA: Trends and Drivers


The renewable energy market in the USA is one of the most dynamic and diverse in the world, with a variety of renewable energy sources and technologies available. According to data from the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources accounted for about 20% of electricity generation in 2020, up from 10% in 2010. The main sources of renewable electricity generation are hydroelectric, wind, biomass, solar, and geothermal.


The renewable energy market in the USA is expected to grow further in the coming years, as the country has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In April 2021, the United States set a target to create a “carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035”—an important element in the country’s goal of reducing emissions 50 to 52 percent by 2030. To achieve this target, the renewable energy sector may need to simultaneously decarbonize while meeting an approximately 40% increase in electrical load by 2035, driven by electrification of transportation, building heating, and industrial sectors.


A solar panel installation providing renewable electricity generation for a house



There are several factors that are driving the growth of the renewable energy market in the USA, such as:


Declining costs: Renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind have become cost-competitive with fossil fuels across most US markets, thanks to technological improvements, economies of scale, and learning effects. According to a report by Lazard, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) declined by 90% from 2009 to 2020, while the LCOE for onshore wind declined by 71% over the same period. The LCOE for utility-scale solar PV and onshore wind in 2020 ranged from $31 to $42 per megawatt-hour (MWh) and $26 to $54 per MWh, respectively, compared to $41 to $74 per MWh for natural gas combined cycle and $66 to $152 per MWh for coal.


Government incentives: The federal government and many state governments have implemented various policies and programs to support the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies. Some of the key federal incentives include:


The Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides a per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for electricity generated by qualified renewable energy facilities such as wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, hydroelectric, and marine and hydrokinetic.


The Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which provides a tax credit equal to a percentage of the cost of eligible equipment for solar, fuel cells, small wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, microturbines, and combined heat and power systems.


The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (MTC), which provides a tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of new or retooled manufacturing facilities that produce equipment for clean energy projects such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, batteries, smart grid components, etc.


The Clean Energy Loan Guarantee Program (LGP), which provides loan guarantees for innovative clean energy projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs.


In addition to these federal incentives, many states have adopted renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which require utilities to source a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. As of June 2021, 30 states and Washington DC had mandatory RPS policies, while eight states had voluntary renewable energy goals.


A group of people protesting for renewable energy and decarbonization of the electricity sector



Consumer preferences: Consumers are increasingly demanding clean and sustainable energy options, driven by environmental awareness, social responsibility, and cost savings. According to a survey by Deloitte, 67% of residential consumers and 60% of business consumers said they are very concerned about climate change and their personal carbon footprint. Moreover, 53% of residential consumers and 57% of business consumers said they are willing to pay more for electricity generated from renewable sources. Many consumers are also opting for electrification with renewable energy sources i.e.- distributed energy resources (DERs), such as rooftop solar panels, battery storage, electric vehicles, and smart thermostats, to reduce their reliance on the grid and lower their energy bills, thereby leading to significant reductions in their primary energy requirements.

The Top Renewable Energy Companies in the USA: Innovation and Investment


The renewable energy market in the USA is home to some of the most innovative and influential companies in the world, ranging from startups to established corporations. These companies are developing and deploying cutting-edge technologies, creating jobs, attracting investment, and contributing to the decarbonization of the economy. Here are some of the top renewable energy companies in the USA, based on their funding history, investment activities, and acquisition trends:


NextEra Energy: NextEra Energy is a leading clean energy company headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida. It is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a leader in battery storage. It owns Florida Power & Light Company, which is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest in the US, serving more than five million customers. It also owns NextEra Energy Resources, which is the world’s largest generator of wind and solar energy, with more than 150 wind farms and 30 solar farms across North America. NextEra Energy has a market capitalization of over $150 billion and annual revenues of over $18 billion. It has invested more than $90 billion in clean energy projects since 2002 and plans to invest another $50 billion to $55 billion through 2022. It has also acquired several renewable energy companies, such as Gulf Power Company, Gexa Energy, Oncor Electric Delivery Company, etc.


Enphase Energy: Enphase Energy is a global leader in microinverter technology for solar PV systems. It is headquartered in Fremont, California and has operations in 21 countries. Its microinverters convert direct current (DC) from solar panels into alternating current (AC) that can be used by appliances or fed into the grid. Its products also include software platforms for monitoring and managing solar systems, as well as battery storage solutions. Enphase Energy has a market capitalization of over $20 billion and annual revenues of over $800 million. It has shipped more than 34 million microinverters to over one million customers worldwide. It has also acquired several companies, such as SunPower’s microinverter business, SolarBridge Technologies, etc.


First Solar: First Solar is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of thin-film solar modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology. It is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona and has manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Its modules have a lower carbon footprint and higher energy yield than conventional crystalline silicon modules. Its products are mainly used for utility-scale solar projects in various markets around the world. First Solar has a market capitalization of over $10 billion and annual revenues of over $2 billion. It has installed more than 25 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity globally. It has also acquired several companies, such as TetraSun, OptiSolar, etc.


Geronimo Energy: Geronimo Energy is a leading developer of wind and solar projects across the US. It is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has offices in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas. It has developed over 2.4 GW of renewable energy projects that are operational or under construction, as well as a pipeline of over 7 GW of projects under development. Its projects span across various sectors, such as utilities, cooperatives, municipalities, corporations, schools, etc. Geronimo Energy was acquired by National Grid Ventures, the non-regulated subsidiary of National Grid plc., in 2019 for $100 million.


Green Fuel Technologies: Green Fuel Technologies is a pioneer in algae-based biofuels production. It is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has operations in Arizona and India. It uses proprietary bioreactors that grow algae using sunlight and carbon dioxide from industrial sources such as power plants or ethanol plants. The algae are then harvested and converted into biodiesel or ethanol that can be used as transportation fuels or blended with fossil fuels. Green Fuel Technologies has raised over $70 million from investors such as Polaris Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Access Industries, etc.


TPI Composites: TPI Composites is a leading manufacturer of composite products for various markets such as wind energy, transportation, defense, and industrial applications. It is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona and has manufacturing facilities.


AESolar: AESolar is a leading provider of solar energy solutions for residential, commercial, and utility-scale customers. It is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona and has operations in 17 states. It offers a range of products and services, such as solar panels, inverters, mounting systems, installation, financing, monitoring, and maintenance. AESolar has a market capitalization of over $1 billion and annual revenues of over $300 million. It has installed over 1 GW of solar capacity across more than 100,000 customers nationwide. It has also acquired several companies, such as Sunetric, Main Street Power Company, etc.


Biodico: Biodico is a pioneer in sustainable biofuel production from various feedstocks, such as agricultural waste, used cooking oil, animal fats, algae, etc. It is headquartered in Ventura, California and has facilities in California and Texas. It uses proprietary technology to produce biodiesel that meets ASTM standards and can be used in any diesel engine without modification. Biodico has raised over $20 million from investors such as the US Navy, the California Energy Commission, the US Department of Agriculture, etc.


Clearway Energy: Clearway Energy is one of the largest independent power producers in the US, with a portfolio of over 7 GW of renewable and conventional generation assets. It is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and has offices in San Francisco, Houston, Carlsbad, and Scottsdale. It operates wind farms, solar farms, natural gas plants, and district energy systems across 28 states. Clearway Energy has a market capitalization of over $4 billion and annual revenues of over $1 billion. It has also acquired several renewable energy companies, such as NRG Yield, Geronimo Energy, etc.


A chart showing the trends and opportunities of the renewable energy sector in the US



Conclusion: A Bright Future for Renewable Energy Companies in the USA


The renewable energy sector in the USA is on a fast track to decarbonize the economy and create a cleaner and more sustainable future. Renewable energy companies in the USA are at the forefront of this transformation, offering innovative technologies, products, and services that meet the growing demand for clean power. These companies are also creating jobs, attracting investment, and contributing to the social and environmental well-being of the country. The renewable energy market in the USA is expected to continue to grow and evolve in the coming years, as new policies, technologies, and consumer preferences emerge. Renewable energy companies in the USA have a unique opportunity to seize this moment and lead the way to a net-zero emissions future.


Related FAQs


What is renewable energy?


Renewable energy is energy produced from sources that are naturally replenished and do not run out, such as the sun, wind, water, biomass, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy can be used for electricity generation, space and water heating and cooling, and transportation. Renewable energy sources have many benefits, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy security, creating jobs, and lowering costs.


How much of U.S. energy consumption and electricity generation comes from renewable energy sources?


According to data from the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources accounted for about 13.1% of total U.S. primary energy consumption in 2022. Renewable energy sources accounted for about 21.5% of total utility-scale electricity generation in 2022. The main sources of renewable electricity generation are hydroelectric, wind, biomass, solar, and geothermal.


How much of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are associated with electricity generation?


In 2022, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by the U.S. electric power sector were 1,539 million metric tons (MMmt), or about 31% of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions of about 4,964 MMmt. CO2 emissions by U.S. electric power sector by source in 2022 were:


Coal: 847 MMmt (55%)

Natural gas: 661 MMmt (43%)

Petroleum: 20 MMmt (1%)

Other: 11 MMmt (<1%)


Other includes CO2 emissions from the combustion of waste materials made from fossil fuels and by some types of geothermal power plants.


What are the factors driving the growth of the renewable energy market in the USA?


There are several factors that are driving the growth of the renewable energy market in the USA, such as:


Declining costs: Renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind have become cost-competitive with fossil fuels across most US markets, thanks to technological improvements, economies of scale, and learning effects.


Government incentives: The federal government and many state governments have implemented various policies and programs to support the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies. Some of the key federal incentives include the Production Tax Credit (PTC), the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (MTC), and the Clean Energy Loan Guarantee Program (LGP).


Consumer preferences: Consumers are increasingly demanding clean and sustainable energy options, driven by environmental awareness, social responsibility, and cost savings. Many consumers are also opting for distributed energy resources (DERs), such as rooftop solar panels, battery storage, electric vehicles, and smart thermostats.


What are some of the top renewable energy companies in the USA?


The renewable energy market in the USA is home to some of the most innovative and influential companies in the world, ranging from startups to established corporations. Some of the top renewable energy companies in the USA are:


NextEra Energy: NextEra Energy is a leading clean energy company headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida. It is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a leader in battery storage.


Enphase Energy: Enphase Energy is a global leader in microinverter technology for solar PV systems. It is headquartered in Fremont, California and has operations in 21 countries.


First Solar: First Solar is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of thin-film solar modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology. It is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona and has manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Malaysia, and Vietnam.


Geronimo Energy: Geronimo Energy is a leading developer of wind and solar projects across the US. It is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has offices in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas.


Green Fuel Technologies: Green Fuel Technologies is a pioneer in algae-based biofuels production. It is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has operations in Arizona and India.


TPI Composites: TPI Composites is a leading manufacturer of composite products for various markets such as wind energy, transportation, defense, and industrial applications. It is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona


What are the types of renewable energy sources and technologies?


There are various types of renewable energy sources and technologies that can be used for electricity generation, space and water heating and cooling, and transportation. Some of the most common types are:


Hydroelectric: Hydroelectric power uses the natural flow of water to spin turbines that generate electricity. Hydroelectric power can be generated from large-scale dams, run-of-river systems, pumped storage systems, or small-scale micro-hydro systems.


Wind: Wind power converts the kinetic energy of air in motion into electricity using wind turbines. Wind power can be generated from onshore or offshore wind farms, distributed wind systems, or small-scale wind turbines.


Biomass: Biomass energy uses organic matter such as wood, crops, seaweed, and animal wastes to produce heat, electricity, or biofuels. Biomass energy can be generated from direct combustion, gasification, pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion, fermentation, or transesterification.


Solar: Solar energy converts sunlight into electricity using solar panels or solar thermal collectors. Solar energy can be generated from utility-scale solar farms, distributed solar systems, or small-scale solar devices.


Geothermal: Geothermal energy uses the heat produced in the Earth’s core to generate electricity or heat. Geothermal energy can be generated from conventional hydrothermal systems, enhanced geothermal systems, or geothermal heat pumps.


What are the benefits of renewable energy?


Renewable energy has many benefits for the environment, the economy, and society. Some of the main benefits are:


Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Renewable energy sources do not emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. By replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, the U.S. can reduce its carbon footprint and meet its net-zero emissions goals.


Enhancing energy security: Renewable energy sources are abundant and diverse, reducing the dependence on imported fossil fuels that are subject to price volatility and geopolitical risks. By diversifying the energy mix with renewable energy sources, the U.S. can improve its energy resilience and reliability.


Creating jobs: Renewable energy sources create more jobs per unit of energy than fossil fuels, according to a report by IRENA. The renewable energy sector employed about 855,000 people in the U.S. in 2020, and is expected to create more jobs as demand for clean energy increases.


Lowering costs: Renewable energy sources have become more affordable over time due to technological improvements, economies of scale, and learning effects. According to a report by Lazard, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind in 2020 ranged from $31 to $42 per megawatt-hour (MWh) and $26 to $54 per MWh, respectively, compared to $41 to $74 per MWh for natural gas combined cycle and $66 to $152 per MWh for coal.


What are the challenges or risks facing the renewable energy sector?


Despite the many benefits of renewable energy sources, there are also some challenges or risks facing the renewable energy sector. Some of the main challenges or risks are:


Intermittency and variability: Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind depend on weather conditions and diurnal cycles that are not always predictable or consistent. This creates challenges for balancing supply and demand on the grid and ensuring grid stability and reliability.


Transmission and distribution: Renewable energy sources are often located far away from load centers or population centers that need electricity. This requires building new transmission lines or upgrading existing ones to connect renewable generation sites to the grid. This can be costly, time-consuming, and subject to regulatory hurdles and public opposition.


Policy uncertainty: Renewable energy sources rely on various policies and programs at the federal and state levels to support their development and deployment. These policies and programs can change over time due to political shifts, budget constraints, or legal challenges. This creates uncertainty for investors and developers who need long-term certainty and stability to plan their projects.


Market competition: Renewable energy sources face competition from other sources of electricity generation, especially natural gas which is abundant, cheap, and flexible. Natural gas can also complement renewable energy sources by providing backup power when they are not available. However, natural gas also emits greenhouse gases and may hinder the decarbonization of the electricity sector.


What are the top 10 renewable energy companies in the USA?


The top 10 renewable energy companies in the USA are based on various criteria, such as installed capacity, revenue, market share, innovation, and social impact. Depending on the source of information, the ranking may vary slightly. However, based on a combination of data from Thomasnet, ElectricRate, Inventiva, and Energy Acuity, here are some of the most prominent renewable energy companies in the USA:


NextEra Energy: NextEra Energy is a leading clean energy company headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida. It is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a leader in battery storage. It has a market capitalization of over $150 billion and annual revenues of over $18 billion. It has invested more than $90 billion in clean energy projects since 2002 and plans to invest another $50 billion to $55 billion through 2022.


Enphase Energy: Enphase Energy is a global leader in microinverter technology for solar PV systems. It is headquartered in Fremont, California and has operations in 21 countries. Its microinverters convert direct current (DC) from solar panels into alternating current (AC) that can be used by appliances or fed into the grid. Its products also include software platforms for monitoring and managing solar systems, as well as battery storage solutions. Enphase Energy has a market capitalization of over $20 billion and annual revenues of over $800 million. It has shipped more than 34 million microinverters to over one million customers worldwide.


First Solar: First Solar is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of thin-film solar modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology. It is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona and has manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Its modules have a lower carbon footprint and higher energy yield than conventional crystalline silicon modules. Its products are mainly used for utility-scale solar projects in various markets around the world.


First Solar has a market capitalization of over $10 billion and annual revenues of over $2 billion. It has installed more than 25 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity globally.


Tesla Energy: Tesla Energy is a division of Tesla Inc., a renowned electric vehicle and clean energy company founded by Elon Musk. It is headquartered in Palo Alto, California and has operations in several countries. Tesla Energy offers various products and services for renewable energy generation and storage, such as solar panels, solar roofs, Powerwall batteries, Powerpack batteries, Megapack batteries, and Autobidder software. Tesla Energy has a market capitalization of over $1 trillion and annual revenues of over $30 billion. It has installed more than 3 GW of solar capacity and more than 6 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery capacity worldwide.


Clearway Energy: Clearway Energy is one of the largest independent power producers in the US, with a portfolio of over 7 GW of renewable and conventional generation assets. It is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and has offices in San Francisco, Houston, Carlsbad, and Scottsdale. It operates wind farms, solar farms, natural gas plants, and district energy systems across 28 states. Clearway Energy has a market capitalization of over $4 billion and annual revenues of over $1 billion.


Sunrun: Sunrun is a leading provider of residential solar energy solutions in the US. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California and has operations in 22 states and Puerto Rico . It offers various products and services for home solar systems and battery storage such as Brightbox Brightsave and BrightAdvantage Sunrun has a market capitalization of over $9 billion and annual revenues of over $900 million It has installed over 3 GW of solar capacity across more than 550000 customers nationwide


Sunnova: Sunnova is another leading provider of residential solar energy solutions in the US. It is headquartered in Houston, Texas and has operations in 25 states and several US territories It offers various products and services for home solar systems and battery storage such as Sunnova SunSafe Sunnova Easy Own and Sunnova Easy Save Sunnova has a market capitalization of over $4 billion and annual revenues of over $200 million It has installed over 1 GW of solar capacity across more than 100000 customers nationwide


Renewable Energy Group: Renewable Energy Group is a leading producer of biodiesel and renewable diesel in the US. It is headquartered in Ames, Iowa and has facilities in 13 states and Germany It uses various feedstocks such as soybean oil, animal fats, used cooking oil, and distillers corn oil to produce low-carbon fuels that can be used in any diesel engine. Renewable Energy Group has a market capitalization of over $3 billion and annual revenues of over $2 billion. It has produced over 2 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel since 1996.


Geronimo Energy: Geronimo Energy is a leading developer of wind and solar projects across the US. It is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has offices in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas It has developed over 2.4 GW of renewable energy projects that are operational or under construction, as well as a pipeline of over 7 GW of projects under development. Its projects span across various sectors, such as utilities, cooperatives, municipalities, corporations, schools, etc. Geronimo Energy was acquired by National Grid Ventures, the non-regulated subsidiary of National Grid plc., in 2019 for $100 million.


Green Fuel Technologies: Green Fuel Technologies is a pioneer in algae-based biofuels production. It is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has operations in Arizona and India. It uses proprietary bioreactors that grow algae using sunlight and carbon dioxide from industrial sources such as power plants or ethanol plants. The algae are then harvested and converted into biodiesel or ethanol that can be used as transportation fuels or blended with fossil fuels. Green Fuel Technologies has raised over $70 million from investors such as Polaris Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Access Industries, etc.

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