US Added 2.1 GW New Solar PV Capacity In Q2/2019

Wood Mackenzie & SEIA Report Claims Q2/2019 New Solar Installations Drop 7% YoY To 2.1 GW In US Even As Contracted Utility Scale Solar Pipeline Balloons To 38 GW; Authors Forecast Cumulative Solar Installations In 2019 To Reach 12.6 GW
12:36 AM (Beijing Time) - 18. September 2019

The major highlight of the Wood Mackenzie and US SEIA solar report for Q2/2019 is that the contracted pipeline of US utility scale solar has reached 37.9 GW of which more than 8 GW is already under construction. (Source: Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables)

Key Takeaways

  • New solar PV installations in the US during Q2/2019 were a total of 2.1 GW, according to the quarterly report by Wood Mackenzie and SEIA
  • Utility scale deployments contributed 1 GW to this total while residential segment numbers added up to 628 MW and non-residential 426 MW
  • Full year 2019 installations are likely to reach 12.6 GW and in 2021 annual installations are expected to be around 17.6 GW
  • Utility scale solar pipeline for the country now stands at 37.9 GW, the highest ever for this segment

The quarterly report on US solar PV installations from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for the second quarter of the year 2019 starts with a positive note on the contracted utility scale pipeline in the country, which had reached 37.9 GW (DC) by June 30, 2019. This, the two say, is the largest pipeline of utility-scale solar projects in the history of US utility PV. Out of this, over 8.6 GW is under construction.

According to the Q3 2019 US Solar Market Insight Report, the major contributor to this pipeline is 15 GW procured in 2018, followed by 11.2 GW of new projects announced in H1/2019 and Q2/2019 adding 6.2 GW. Even offsite corporate solar procurement has played a big role in this; it represents 17% of new utility scale solar capacity announced in 2019.

Corporate offsite solar is expected to drive more than 20% of new utility-scale capacity additions from 2019 through 2024, according to the report authors. One big factor in the growth of utility scale solar pipeline, especially that announced in 2019, is to do with economic competitiveness of utility scale solar; the report notes some recent power purchase agreements (PPA) were signed for $18 to $35 per MWh.

Q2/2019 installations

Coming to the quarterly additions in Q2/2019, the report declares 2.1 GW (DC) of new capacity addition in the US, 7% less than Q2/2018 which it previously pinned at 2.3 GW (see US Solar Market Deployed 2.3 GW PV In Q2/2018). Of this 2.1 GW, utility scale added little over 1 GW. Residential solar continued its steady growth installing 8% more YoY with additions of 628 MW, mainly led by emerging state solar markets. About 1/4th of all residential installations in Q2/2019 came from state markets outside the top 10.

On the other hand, non-residential solar additions of 426 MW declined 16% from last year as policy changes in California, Massachusetts and Minnesota impacted this segment.

Going forward, the authors forecast 17% YoY growth for 2019 installations to grow to 12.6 GW and annual installations to reach 17.6 GW in 2021 before the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for residential systems expires and there  the commercial tax credit drops to 10% for projects yet to enter construction.

In March 2019, the annual figures from Wood Mackenzie and SEIA showed the US added 10.6 GW of new solar in 2018 (see 10.6 GW New Solar Added In US In 2018).

“It’s no surprise that the US solar pipeline is surging as costs continue to fall and solar becomes the lowest cost option for utilities, corporations and families,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of SEIA. “However, as we push for solar to represent 20% of US electricity generation by 2030, smart policies like an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit will be critical to reach this goal.”

The Q3 2019 US Solar Market Insight Report can be purchased on Wood Mackenzie’s website.

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani