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Utility Scale Solar Installations Saw Largest Jump Ever Last Year

Utility-scale solar installations in the United States rose by 60% last year, the highest level ever recorded, according to new data.

U.S. solar projects grew by 15 GW last year—a 60% increase and the highest jump on record, environmental research group Kayrros said in a new report. Behind the large increase year over year was an uneventful 2022, which saw a rash of bottlenecks in solar supply chains, lack of solar workforce, and high import tariffs.

Texas, under the oversight of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), saw the largest amount of capacity additions last year, but other regions—which have so far lagged behind the Lone Star state—saw a larger rate of growth. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) grew 224% year over year, and PJM Interconnection grew 150%.

The growth in solar installations in the ERCOT region was spurred on by the fact that it is relatively insulated from other markets, Antoine Rostand, CEO and co-founder of Kayrros, said.

And 2024 is also shaping up to be a banner year for solar installation growth and is currently on track to book the fastest increase in U.S. solar completions for this time of year. According to the EIA, this fast pace of solar installation completions should continue through the rest of the year, with 125 GW of installations on track to be finished—a higher estimate than the Kayrros predictions.

Europe, too, saw a record-breaking 60 GW of solar PV capacity expansion last year, although solar power generation was significantly beneath that at just a 20% growth. Rystad Energy is forecasting that solar PV energy will increase by 50 TWh in 2024, growing more than any other generation source as capacity installations—by Germany in particular—come online by leaps and bounds.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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