- SEIA and Wood Mackenzie say the US installed 3.9 GW DC new solar in Q1/2022, the lowest in last 2 years
- Utility scale solar suffered the most due to supply chain constraints, project delays and anti-circumvention investigation, so did commercial solar
- Residential solar with 1.247 GW capacity experienced growth led by California, Florida and Texas
- For 2022, the analysts expect US to exit with 15.6 GW DC new PV capacity with some 2 GW DC or 3 GW DC upside potential with the 24-month delay in anti-circumvention tariffs
The US solar market reported its weakest quarter in last 2 years with 3.9 GW DC of new solar PV capacity in Q1/2022, having dropped 24% annually and 52% sequentially due to supply chain constraints and trade policy disruptions, according to the US Solar Market Insight: Q2 2022.
Launched a day after the US government delayed tariffs on solar imports from 4 Southeast Asian nations for 24 months, but prepared earlier, the report writers have lowered their 2022 forecast by 29% or 6.3 GW DC to 15.6 GW DC, due to the uncertainty created by the anti-circumvention investigation. The report is a quarterly edition on the US solar market by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.
The possibility of tariff imposition from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia has been delayed by 24 months by US President Joe Biden opening the market and dispelling the uncertainty (see Biden Saves The Day For US Solar Industry). The investigation led to several manufacturers suspending shipping to the US adding to the supply chain constraints the global PV market has been facing.
While welcoming the US action into Auxin Solar’s petition for tariffs, SEIA’s Principal Analyst Michelle Davis said, “Despite this, this announcement is expected to create approximately 2-3 GW of upside potential to Wood Mackenzie’s 2022 base case outlook, assuming the global market resumes normal operations.”
Back to Q1/2022 results now. Utility scale installations led the quarterly additions with 2.173 GW DC. This segment was the one hampered maximum by high commodity prices and supply chain constraints and anti-circumvention investigation. “These factors led to an astounding 6 GW DC (41%) downgrade to the already-low 14.7 GW DC 2022 forecast since last quarter, for an updated 2022 outlook of 8.7 GW DC,” according to the report.
This segment currently has 26 GW DC projects under construction, out of which 15.7 GW DC were originally slated to come online in 2022. Total contracted pipeline increased to 80.6 GW DC.
While interest from utility and corporate customers continues to be high, notes the report, the utility-scale solar pipeline took a hit from the anti-circumvention investigation – 17.6 GW DC of projects in development were delayed by at least a year, and 450 MW of projects were canceled outright.
Residential PV continued to grow with 30% YoY and 5% QoQ improvement to 1.247 GW DC, led by California, Florida and Texas. Commercial solar segment contributed 317 MW DC that dropped 11% annually and 28% quarterly due to the same reasons that plagued utility scale segment. As several developers are short of equipment, report writers have lowered their forecast for commercial solar segment by 14% under base case scenario, while expecting 32% growth in 2023.
With 197 MW DC community solar PV installed in Q1/2022, the installations increased 16% compared to Q1/2021 but declined 59% from Q4/2021.
While the executive summary of the report is available for free, the complete report can be purchased from Wood Mackenzie’s website for $7,000.