- Supply chain and policy issues pulled back US utility scale clean energy deployment in Q4/2022 by 21% annually, as per a new ACP report
- A total of 9.6 GW new wind, solar and battery storage capacity was installed in Q4/2022, taking annual total to over 25 GW
- Solar led the Q4 additions in terms of technology with 4.7 GW installed; it annual total added up to 12.7 GW
- Of 53 GW delayed utility scale clean power projects capacity of the US, solar accounts for 34.18 GW or 64%
- Solar also dominates clean power development pipeline of the US that stands at 135 GW, accounting for 59% of the total
With a total of 9.6 GW new wind, solar and battery storage capacity installed in Q4/2022, the American Clean Power Association (ACP) calls the quarter the strongest in 2022 but the lowest 4th quarter since 2019. It showed 21% annual decline for US utility scale clean energy capacity that included 4.731 GW solar deployments.
For solar, the annual utility scale installations added up to 12.7 GW, which ACP says is ‘well short of’ 30% growth expected for 2022. With its 4.7 GW installed capacity in the last quarter of 2022, solar exceeded quarterly installations of wind and storage that added up to 4.0 GW (8.5 GW in 2022), and 850 MW/2,375 MWh (4.027 GW/12,155 MWh in 2022), respectively.
According to the association, annual installations fell 16% below 2021 and 12% below 2020 levels. Including the 25.12 GW clean power capacity installed in 2022, the US has 227 GW operational capacity.
The association has a long list of concerns that it blames for the low deployment rate in Q4/2022 and 2022 ranging from supply chain constraints, lengthy delays in grid connections, unclear trade restrictions, longstanding permitting obstacles and uncertainty over Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) implementation.
On the whole, America’s total delayed utility scale clean power projects capacity stands at 53 GW with solar accounting for 34.18 GW or 64% of the total.
“More than 17.4 GW of clean power projects expected online in Q4 experienced delays. In total, ACP is tracking more than 53 GW of clean power projects that experienced delays and have yet to come online. Solar accounts for 64% of total delays, wind 21%, and battery storage the remaining 15%,” according to the ACP report Clean Power Quarterly Market Report—Q4 2022.
Solar was the dominant source of power generation for power purchase agreements (PPA) signed in the US last year as it represented 76% of clean power offtake announcements in 2022, and 62% in Q4/2022.
There was another 2.067 GW of hybrid clean energy capacity installed in Q4/2022 all of which was solar+storage facilities. For 2022, the number for these installations was 5.85 GW comprising 88% solar+storage capacity.
At the end of 2022, the combined operational utility scale solar PV capacity of the US stood at over 74 GW.
After the lull of 2022, the future seems bright as the ACP counts clean power development pipeline in the country to have increased by 13% since Q4/2021 with 135.2 GW worth capacity in late stages of development in the US, including 42.3 GW under construction and 93 GW in advanced development. Texas leads with 24.5 GW in development. It mainly shows the impact of the IRA.
Solar dominates total clean energy pipeline accounting for 59% of the total, followed by 15% onshore wind, 13% offshore wind and 12% battery storage. There are now 80.2 GW of solar in the pipeline, according to the ACP, including 16.9 GW in Texas.
“However, in the first full quarter since the IRA went into effect, policy headwinds continue to put these landmark investments at risk and hold back the industry’s potential,” warns the ACP.