US Installed Record 19.2 GW Solar In 2020

With 19.2 GW DC Solar PV Installed In 2020—Over 8 GW DC Added In Q4/2020 Alone—SEIA & Wood Mackenzie Forecast US Solar Market To Well Exceed 20 GW DC Annual Installations In 2021

US Installed Record 19.2 GW Solar In 2020

The authors of the US Solar Market Insight report for 2020 believe the utility scale solar contracted pipeline in the US has swelled to a total of 69 GW DC till the end of 2020. In 2021, this segment is expected to hit 17.5 GW DC annual capacity in 2021, up from a little less than 14 GW DC in 2020, which was already a record. (Source: Wood Mackenzie)

  • According to US Solar Market Insight report, the US solar market installed 19.2 GW DC new solar in 2020, growing 43% annually
  • In Q4/2020, 8 GW DC was installed with 6.3 GW DC contributed by utility scale solar alone
  • Residential solar grew 11% in 2020, despite the pandemic impact, while non-residential solar declined 4% to add 2 GW last year
  • In 2021, utility scale segment is likely to hit 17.5 GW of annual capacity additions, according to the report

The US solar market grew 43% annually in 2020 with a total of 19.2 GW DC capacity installed in the country, a record amount added, with solar representing also 43% of all new electricity generating capacity added here in 2020.

According to the US Solar Market Insight: 2020 year-in-Review published by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie, a little over 8 GW DC came online in Q4/2020 reflecting a 32% annual growth, and record quarterly installations.

According to the general trend in the US, the utility scale segment le installations with record high addition for this segment at 6.3 GW DC coming up in Q4/2020, taking its annual share to a little less than 14 GW DC due to more projects getting pushed into 2021. According to the report writers, the full utility scale contracted pipeline at the end of 2020 swelled to 69 GW DC, with the addition of 5 GW DC capacity contracted under power purchase agreements (PPA) in Q4/2020.

In 2021, the utility scale segment is expected to break the 2020 record, according to the report that calculates 11.2 GW projects under construction for 2021 ‘on pace to hit 17.5 GW’ of annual capacity additions. This would be well ahead of the official guidance of 15.4 GW utility scale solar capacity coming online in 2021, by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US government (see EIA Expects 15.4 GW Utility Scale PV For US In 2021).

Next in line was the residential segment having grown 11% YoY to 3.1 GW in 2020 (Q4/2020: 963 MW), even though it was lower than the 18% annual growth it registered in 2019, thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic onslaught.

Non-residential deployments dropped 4% YoY in 2020, contributing 2 GW to annual numbers of 19.2 GW as this segment experienced the ‘worst project delays’ due to the pandemic. The authors aren’t too hopeful of this non-residential segment growing ‘meaningfully’ until costs decline in the longer term.

Providing an outlook for the market for the next decade, the report expects a cumulative of 324 GW DC of solar capacity additions by 2030, to be spread across all market segments since efforts are made by distributed solar customers, utilities, states and corporations to decarbonize the grid.

A 17% overall increase equal to 17.7 GW has been factored in by the analysts in their 2021-2025 forecast for this market due to the 2-year Investment Tax Credit (ITC) extension as part of the COVID-19 relief package (see Before Year 2020 End, Big Win For US Solar PV Industry).

Referring to the US government stance on solar products made with Xinjiang produced polysilicon due to reports of potential forced labor in some of these facilities and the ‘inability to conduct independent audits’, the report acknowledges the uncertainty of its impact on the US market; it does caution that the situation has the ‘potential’ to delay some portion of US projects.

The report can be purchased on Wood Mackenzie’s website for $3,990.


About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power.

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