US Set Solar Capacity Growth Record in 2nd Quarter

September 30, 2022 by Dan McCue
US Set Solar Capacity Growth Record in 2nd Quarter
(Photo by Raphael Cruz via Unsplash)

EDINBURGH, Scotland — The pro-renewable energy policies of the Biden-Harris administration helped the United States achieve its largest ever quarter-over-quarter growth in utility-scale solar capacity, according to new analysis of the market.

According to Wood Mackenzie, a U.K.-based research and consultancy firm, the U.S. recorded 10 GW of new utility-scale solar contracts in the second quarter of 2022, up 201% from the first quarter.

This activity accounted for the largest quarterly contracted capacity since 2019 and brought the contracted pipeline for such projects to 88 GW, an all-time high.

“We are seeing a lot of optimism right now in renewables with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Sylvia Leyva Martinez, senior research analyst with Wood Mackenzie, in a statement accompanying the analysis. 

“The utility-scale solar segment is seeing a real boost of interest and investment. There are still some short-term challenges for installations, as we continue to grapple with supply chain challenges, but the future looks very bright,” Martinez said.

While contracts remain high, the effects of the IRA bill will likely not fully kick in until 2025, when project timetables catch up and supply chain issues have ceased. 

Wood Mackenzie is projecting that the U.S. utility-scale PV market will add 437 GW between 2022 and 2032.

The U.S. registered 2.7 GW of utility-scale solar installations in Q2, up 24% from the previous quarter. More than half of the activity (53%) was driven by Texas. The Southeast was also active, with Florida and Georgia recording strong gains as well at 12% and 11%, respectively.

Despite the increase, supply chain constraints continued to hamper the industry. This quarter was the lowest Q2 for installations since 2019 and the fifth lowest quarter in that timeframe, Wood Mackenzie found..

“We are seeing diversification in the pipeline, with New York and Florida both with more than 5 GW of projects in development,” said Matthew Sahd, research associate at the consultancy.

“Utilities continue to be the strongest driver, but their share of the pipeline continues to decrease. The increase of corporate-driven procurement has made up for this which should continue to drive more activity in the future,” he said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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