Whopping 462 GW Solar In Grid Connection Queue In US

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Research Shows 462 GW Solar Power Capacity Waiting For Grid Connection In US, Pointing Towards Growing Commercial Interest In Solar & Storage

Whopping 462 GW Solar In Grid Connection Queue In US

The authors of a Lawrence Berkeley study believe that while not all the projects in the US grid connection queue will be built, the data is a general indicator for mid-term trends in developer interest, which seems to be inclined heavily towards solar power, and solar with storage projects. (Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

  • According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows the US had more than 755 GW of power generation capacity seeking grid connection at the end of 2020
  • A lion’s share of it comprises solar power with 462 GW, including 159 GW of hybrid solar projects
  • Solar power is seen as spread across the country, with most of it waiting for grid connection in Texas, Arizona and Indiana
  • The statistics show growing commercial preference for solar and storage

At the end of 2020, the US had more than 5,000 power generation projects seeking grid interconnection across the country representing over 755 GW and close to 204 GW of storage. Solar led the numbers with 462 GW, accounting for over 60% of the total capacity in queue, of which 159 GW comprises hybrid solar projects meaning solar with battery storage, or 34% of all solar in the queues.

These are the findings of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in its study titled Queued Up: Characteristics of Power Plants Seeking Transmission Interconnection As of the End of 2020. It includes all active projects in the generation interconnection queues through the end of 2020.

Along with solar power projects, there is another 209 GW of wind energy capacity, 74 GW of natural gas among other technologies awaiting grid connection, according to the report. The writers point out this is representative of growing commercial interest in solar and storage, including through hybridization, while a declining preference for wind and gas.

Referring to the data in the study, the authors believe while wind capacity has contracted in some regions, and gas largely declined, solar and storage have seen consistent growth since 2015. While solar is spread quite evenly across the country, most of it is in interconnection queues in Texas, Arizona and Indiana.

The study explains that proposed large-scale electric generation and storage projects must apply for interconnection to the bulk power system via interconnection queues. While many projects that apply for interconnection are not subsequently built, data from these queues nonetheless provide a general indicator for mid-term trends in developer interest.

Interest in hybrids is most prominent in CAISO and the non-ISO West, where 89% and 67% of the cumulative proposed solar is in a hybrid configuration, respectively, according to the study. That trend is accelerating – CAISO saw over 15 GW of solar+storage hybrids enter the queue in 2020, compared to only 5 MW of standalone solar.

Of the total capacity in queues, exceeding 755 GW, 71% or 653 GW is scheduled to come online by the end of 2023, and 13% or 117 GW has an executed interconnection agreement (IA).

The study said there are growing calls for queue reform to reduce cost, lead times and speculation.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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