Records roll as 'historic' 2020 United States solar deployment tees up decade of growth

Mar 16, 2021 02:14 PM ET
  • The US solar industry smashed multiple records in 2020 as the sector recorded an "historic" 4th quarter, teeing up an honest decade where installations are anticipated to more than quadruple.
Records roll as 'historic' 2020 United States solar deployment tees up decade of growth
Image: Nextracker

Those numbers, consisted of within the new edition of the US Solar Market Insight report, collectively released today (16 March 2021) by the Solar Energy Industries Alliance as well as expert firm Timber Mackenzie, highlight a significant rebound for US solar in the direction of the end of the year, having actually spent large swathes of 2020 curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 19.2 GWdc of solar was mounted in 2020, the evaluation reveals, a 43% increase on installments in 2019.

That number was attained mainly as a result of an "historical" Q4, when around 8GWdc of solar was set up as programmers and also installers alike overcame "substantial backlogs" of jobs that had actually been slowed down by the spread of the pandemic earlier in the year.

At 8GWdc, US solar wrecked its own record for quarterly deployment, with mounts up by almost a quarter (22%) on the previous record-setting quarter of Q4 2016.

Of that 8GWdc, more than 6.3 GWdc dropped under the utility-scale solar brace, taking total utility-scale solar release in the US for 2020 to just under 14GW.

Meanwhile, domestic solar installations climbed by 11% year-on-year to about 3.1 GW, falling short of the 18% development recorded in 2019.

Non-residential solar installations dropped 4% year-on-year to around 2GW, which SEIA and also WoodMac attributed to postponed affiliations and also sliding task timelines.

The considerable enter solar setups throughout the year added towards solar PV recording a leading share of brand-new electrical power generation mounted in the United States for a second successive year, with solar bookkeeping for 43% of total brand-new power generation in the country.

California predictably kept its status as the leading state for solar, mounting just over 3.9 GW in 2020. Texas was also unmoved as the second-ranked state, nevertheless its implementation leapt 1.4 GW in 2019 to 3.4 GW in 2021, showing that California's placement could be under threat. Virginia likewise recorded a significant leap up the state-by-state rankings, rising from 2019's position of 19th to fourth following a near 11-fold rise in implementation to 1.4 GW.

Return of the barking twenties

WoodMac and also SEIA's analysis also shows solar's unstoppable rise in the coming decade, with WoodMac publishing for the first time setup projections over the next 10 years.

The working as a consultant anticipates records to continue to tip over the coming years. Greater than three-times as much solar is anticipated to be set up over the following decade than has been mounted to day, taking the US' complete collective set up solar ability from just under 100GW of mounted ability today to more than 400GW by 2030.

Utility-scale solar is to play a significant function in this increase, assisted by the two-year extension of the financial investment tax credit (ITC) at the end of last year. That policy decision boosted WoodMac's solar forecasts for 2021-- 2025 by 17%, adding a more 17.7 GW.

However it is not just utility-scale solar that is expected to expand. SEIA and WoodMac additionally directed towards anticipated growth in the property solar landscape, driven by the intro of brand-new financial products as well as less expensive prices aiding the innovation end up being more widespread on consumer roofs.

Abigail Ross Hopper, Chief Executive Officer and also head of state at SEIA, stated the United States solar sector came "barking back" following a downturn in Q2 to "proceed our trajectory as America's leading source of new power".

The action we take currently will certainly identify the rate of our growth and also whether we make use of solar to sustain our economy and also meet this environment minute."

Abigail ross hopper, seia

Ross Hopper also kept in mind the leading role that plan and laws had actually played in solar's continued increase in the United States. "This report makes it clear that smart policies function. The action we take currently will certainly figure out the pace of our growth as well as whether we use solar to sustain our economic climate as well as meet this climate minute."

This sight was backed my Wood Davis, elderly expert at Wood Mackenzie, who particularly kept in mind how the two-year ITC expansion is to drive higher adoption of solar over the following 4 years-- 2025 being the last year in which projects can complete to get approved for the tax obligation break. However from 2025 onwards, solar will really strike its stride in the US. "Engaging economics for distributed and utility-scale solar in addition to decarbonization commitments from numerous stakeholders will result in a landmark setup rate of over 50 GWdc by the end of the decade," Davis included.

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