US passes 100 GW of installed solar capacity


From pv magazine USA

The U.S. solar market passed 100 GW of generating capacity in the first quarter, doubling the size of the industry over the past 3.5 years, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Q2 2021 report, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.

The report showed that residential solar was down 8% from the fourth quarter of 2020, but up 11% from the first quarter of 2021, with 905 MW installed. The report credited “healthy sales pipelines” that spilled over into the first quarter.

Commercial solar and community solar volumes fell from the fourth quarter of 2020, as is typical for these market segments. Commercial solar rose 19% from the first quarter of 2020, while community solar fell 15%.

Utility-scale solar set a record for first-quarter installations at 3.6 GW. Texas made up the largest share of this capacity, with more than 1.4 GW of installations.

A total of 6.2 GW of new utility-scale solar power purchase agreements were announced in the first quarter of 2021, on par with the first three months of 2020. The total utility-scale contracted pipeline has grown to nearly 77 GW, the report said.

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Wood Mackenzie forecasts that the solar industry will continue to break annual installation records every year for the next three years before the investment tax credit (ITC) fully phases out under current law. Another 160 GW of capacity will be installed between 2021 and 2026, bringing the total operating PV fleet to more than 250 GWdc by the end of 2026.

Texas led all states with 1.52 GW of new solar capacity in the first quarter – more than it added in all of 2019 and three times more than any other state. Indiana, Virginia, Michigan, and Iowa were among the top 10 solar states this quarter. Indiana rose from 32nd in terms of new installed solar capacity in 2020 to fourth as of the first quarter. Meanwhile, Georgia fell from seventh place to 38th over the same time period.

The report also calls attention to rising costs in the solar industry and helps to explain the dynamics at play. It said that “compounding cost increases across all materials started at the end of the first quarter and are beginning to affect installers now.”

Check out “Supply chain constraints are starting to hit the solar industry, SEIA says.”

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