Utility-Scale Solar Capacity net Additions in US to Rise 10% Yearly to 2024: Report

Utility-scale solar generating capacity net additions in the US are forecast to see compound annual growth of 10 percent in terms of watts through 2024.

Utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generating capacity net additions in the US are forecast to see compound annual growth of 10% in terms of watts through 2024, according to ‘Photovoltaic Solar Power: United States’, a report recently released by Freedonia Focus Reports.

However, severe volatility in the intervening years due to the scheduled ramp down of tax credits and resulting panel stockpiling, combined with the effects of the COVID-19 economic slowdown, will yield declines of 5.1 percent per year in average annual terms. Rapid declines in lithium-ion battery prices, owing to improved economies of scale related to production capacity ramp in support of the burgeoning battery-electric vehicle market, will continue to drive rapid growth in the grid storage market. Growth in grid storage is expected to significantly minimise one major constraint on PV module demand: its intermittent generation of power, tied to the day/night cycle and cloud conditions.

The report added that the generating capacity net additions of crystalline silicon, the dominant utility-scale PV generating technology, are expected to total 8.5 GW in 2024. While the aforementioned constraints will yield average annual declines of 4.8 percent per year, the maturity and high efficiency possible with these cells will support demand relative to other PV technologies.

Earlier this month, in a report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie, it was revealed that the US solar market installed 3.5 gigawatts (GW) of new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in Q2 2020, a drop of 6 percent from Q1 installations. At the same time, utility-scale solar remained resilient despite the COVID-19 pandemic, representing 71 percent of all new solar capacity brought online in Q2.

The report also noted that the residential and non-residential segments saw a significant slowdown in the quarter. Installations were down 23 percent quarter over quarter in the residential segment, and 12 percent quarter over quarter in the non-residential sector, due to restrictions and shelter-in-place orders imposed to curb the pandemic.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.