The U.S. solar industry recorded record growth last year despite the pandemic, with 19.2 GW in new capacity added, for a 43-percent increase over 2019, according to a new report from Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Residential deployments rose 11 percent on 2019, the report noted, while non-residential deployment declined by 4 percent, both affected by the pandemic. Utility-scale installations accounted for the bulk of new solar additions, however, with a total of almost 14 GW.
“After a slowdown in Q2 due to the pandemic, the solar industry innovated and came roaring back to continue our trajectory as America’s leading source of new energy,” SEIA president and chief executive Abigail Ross Hopper said. “The forecast shows that by 2030, the equivalent of one in eight American homes will have solar, but we still have a long way to go if we want to reach our goals in the Solar+ Decade.”
Solar capacity has been the fastest-growing new power generating segment for two years in a row now, with total capacity set to increase fourfold from current levels by 2030.
The future for solar is definitely bright, not least because of a two-year extension of investment tax credits, whose expiry would have hurt solar and wind investors. According to the SEIA, this extension will lead to a 17-percent increase in new solar installation additions between this year and 2025.
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A very renewable-friendly administration in Washington will also help the industry continue on its strong trajectory as solar makes one of the pillars of the energy transition envisioned by the Biden team. And then there is the simple economic factor:
“Compelling economics for distributed and utility-scale solar along with decarbonization commitments from numerous stakeholders will result in a landmark installation rate of over 50 GWdc by the end of the decade,” said Wood Mac senior analyst Michelle Davis.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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