The good news is 2019 was a remarkable year for solar in the U.S.
The bad news is, well, you know what the bad news is.
Analyst Wood Mackenzie and industry body the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have published their 2019 U.S. Solar Market Insight report. However, the publication does not take into account the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the U.S. solar industry supply chains, component costs and project timelines.
Here are five takeaways from the pre-COVID-19 U.S. solar industry.
- Some 13.3 GW of solar generation capacity was installed last year, 23% more than in 2018.
- That figure included more than 2.8 GW of residential solar.
- Cumulative operating PV capacity in the U.S. now exceeds 76 GW, up from 1 GW at the end of 2009.
- Solar accounted for almost 40% of all new electricity generation capacity added in the U.S. in 2019.
- The contracted utility PV pipeline is at a record high of 48.1 GW.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, WoodMac had forecast 47% annual growth for solar this year, with nearly 20 GW of installations expected for a record annual figure. No one would think that forecast likely any more.
SEIA chief executive Abigail Ross Hopper cited the PV industry’s resilience in the face of Section 201 solar import tariffs as a source of hope.
“We know anecdotally that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting delivery schedules and our ability to meet project completion deadlines, based partly on new labor shortages,” said Hopper. “This once again is testing our industry’s resilience but we believe over the long run we are well positioned to out-compete incumbent generators in the Solar+ decade and to continue growing our market share.”