US utility-scale solar slowed in Q3


From pv magazine USA

With just under 1.9 GW of utility-scale solar installed in the third quarter of 2022, the industry experienced its slowest quarter since July-September 2020. This was expected to be a landmark year for solar, but global supply challenges have hampered growth, delayed projects, and driven up prices.  

Despite this, optimism remains. The American Clean Power Association (ACP) said in its quarterly report that the United States might deploy 550 GW of renewable energy by 2030. Solar is expected to lead the charge in this decade of energy transition, representing 59% of active renewable energy projects in queues. Along the way, the United States is expected to cut economy-wide emissions by 40% below 2005 levels. This progress will be accomplished by a clean power workforce of 1 million, said ACP.

“President (Joe) Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law on Aug. 16. This unprecedented national commitment to clean power is the largest policy investment in clean energy on record,” said the report. “The IRA is set to catalyze clean energy growth, ultimately more than tripling annual installations of wind, solar, and battery storage by the end of the decade.”

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Despite a slow quarter, 2022 remains the second highest year for solar deployment in history, falling just behind 2021 totals. Quarterly installs were down 23% compared to the same period next year. This slowdown may persist for some time as solar module supply issues remain, and the United States works to inject Inflation Reduction Act funds into a new domestic manufacturing supply chain.

In total, solar installations in 2022 reach just over 7 GW. This brings total utility-scale solar operating capacity to 68 GW. Developers activated 41 solar projects, spanning 18 states and totaling 1.87 GW, said the ACP. California leads in cumulative installed operating capacity with 16.8 GW active, followed by Texas with 9.9 GW. Iowa increased its solar capacity by nearly 40% this quarter by installing 100 MW.

The largest utility-scale solar project commissioned this quarter was Old 300 Solar, a 430 MW facility in Texas. Developed by Ørsted, the project is selling its capacity to Microsoft via a power purchase agreement.

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