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Booming U.S. Solar Industry Hit By Coronavirus Pandemic

The flourishing U.S. solar industry is already experiencing supply delays due to coronavirus-inflicted supply chain disruptions and may not meet the deadlines for projects to take full advantage of tax credits, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said on Tuesday as it reported a boom in solar installations last year.  

Solar power capacity accounted for 40 percent of all new electric generating capacity in the United States in 2019, its highest share ever and more than any other source of electricity, with 13.3 gigawatts (GW) installed, the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2019 Year-in-Review report from SEIA and Wood Mackenzie showed today.

America’s solar market jumped by 23 percent year on year in 2019, according to the report, which also expects total installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the U.S. to grow by 47 percent in 2020, with nearly 20 GW of new installations by year-end.

“Each of the next two years are expected to be the largest on record for the U.S. solar industry,” the report says, but SEIA warned that the impact of the coronavirus, unquantifiable as of now, could slow down the booming U.S. solar industry.

“We know anecdotally that the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to impact delivery schedules and that it could affect demand for solar as well as our ability to meet project completion deadlines based partly on new labor shortages,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA.

“Given the dynamic nature of the outbreak, it is too early to incorporate any changes into our outlooks with enough certainty,” SEIA and Wood Mackenzie noted today.

If supply delays continue and if fewer employees work in light of quarantines and or possible production shutdowns, projects could be delayed, which “would dampen overall installations in 2020,” SEIA says in its early assessment of the coronavirus’ impact on the U.S. solar market.

If a period of supply delays and quarantines continues for months, companies may not meet the deadlines for solar project in order to take full advantage of the 26-percent investment tax credit (ITC), the association said.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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