US Market On Course For 19 GW Solar Additions in 2020

US Market On Course For 19 GW Solar Additions in 2020 New York Government Clears the Path for 6.4 GW Clean Energy Projects

A report brought out by Wood Mackenzie (Woodmac), a research firm, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in the US states that the country is on course for adding 19 GW of solar during 2020. That would be a creditable achievement, considering the worst of the Covid pandemic still continues to run through the US right now.

Solar firms installed 3.8 gigawatts (GW) of new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in Q3 2020, a 9% increase from Q2 installations as the country opened up from its own version of lockdowns and restrictions in Q3.

The report, titled the U.S. Solar Market Insight Q4 2020 report, adds that solar accounts for 43% of all new electric generating capacity additions through Q3 2020, more than any other electricity source. The record 19 GW of new solar capacity installations expected in 2020 will represent a 43% year-over-year growth from 2019.

“This report points to the incredible resilience of our companies and workers in the face of the pandemic and continued demand for clean, affordable electricity sources,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “It also speaks to our ability to support economic growth, even in our darkest moments. While solar will continue to grow, the next administration and Congress have an opportunity to help the solar industry reach its Solar+ Decade goals, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and tackling the climate crisis.” 

The residential solar market — which was the hardest hit by the business impacts of the pandemic — beat recovery expectations, growing 14% over Q2 but remained below Q1 levels.

Residential Solar Market Changes Q2 to Q3

The utility-scale market was the primary driver of Q3 installations with 2.7 GW of new capacity, representing 70% of all solar capacity brought online in Q3. A total of 9.5 GWdc of new utility PV power purchase agreements were announced in Q3 2020, bringing the contracted pipeline to a record total of 69 GWdc

Sun Belt states are leading the way on new capacity additions this year, with Texas and Florida both installing more than 2 GW through Q3 2020. For perspective, that is nearly the amount of solar that each of those states installed over 2018 and 2019 combined.

The utility-scale project pipeline ballooned to a record 69.2 GW, and the U.S. is now forecast to reach 100 GW of cumulative installed solar capacity by mid-2021.

Forecasts for 2021-2025 put total solar installations above 107 GWdc, a 10 GWdc increase from last quarter driven primarily by healthy increases to the utility-scale solar pipeline.

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