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U.S. Solar Capacity Additions To Hit A Record High In 2023

The solar industry in the United States expects to install a record-high 32 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity this year, with additions surging by 52% from 2022, when policy-driven constraints held back projects, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie said in their latest quarterly report on Thursday.

The challenges with supply chains due to the COVID-related chaos and restrictive trade policies have started to fade, while the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is beginning to yield results, the U.S. Solar Market Insight Q3 2023 report found.

Total operating solar capacity in the U.S. is expected to rise from 153 GW today to 375 GW by 2028, Wood Mackenzie predicts.

In the second quarter of 2023, the U.S. solar industry installed 5.6 gigawatts-direct current (GWdc) of capacity, up by 20% year-over-year and an 8% decrease from the first quarter of 2023, the report showed.

In Q1 2023, U.S. solar system installations surged by 47% on the year.

This year, volumes are set to grow year-over-year, reversing the contraction in 2022, WoodMac and SEIA said in today’s report.

Early this year, the 2022 year-in-review report by WoodMac and SEIA said that the U.S. solar market is expected to recover this year from the policy-driven supply constraints that weighed on the sector in 2022.

Last year, new solar capacity additions in the United States fell by 16% from 2021 for a total of 20.2 GW. The decline in 2022 installations was primarily driven by supply chain uncertainties after the U.S. launched an investigation into whether U.S. imports of panels completed in four Southeast Asian countries - using parts and components from China - are circumventing the antidumping duty and countervailing duty orders on solar cells and modules from China. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has also detained solar equipment from China over new legislation against forced labor, which further stifled U.S. industry growth in 2022.

With the IRA provisions and supply-chain challenges now starting to abate, the solar market will return to growth this year, with additions expected at a record 32 GW.

“Announcements for domestic module manufacturing have exploded, promising more stable solar module supply in the future,” said Michelle Davis, Head of Global Solar at Wood Mackenzie.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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