The record first-quarter numbers published in the most recent U.S. Solar Market Insight by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie offer a snapshot of a time long gone, of a solar industry largely untouched by the coronavirus.
In fact, at a whopping 3.6 GW of new solar photovoltaic capacity, the first three months of this year was the largest first quarter ever in the United States by nearly a gigawatt. But trouble lies ahead for the rooftop sector in 2020, which fall 32% compared to pre-coronavirus forecasts, according to SEIA. It’s only the robust pipeline of big solar projects that will permit the industry to show growth compared to 2019.
The impact of the pandemic is being felt in construction delays, loss of customer demand, and loss of access to project financing. However, pv magazine finds utility-scale PV developers are adapting pretty well, with a steady stream of solar projects bigger than 100 MW.
Here are the key takeaways from the report:
- The United States will install 113 GW of solar from 2020 to 2025.
- In the first quarter, solar accounted for nearly 40% of all new generating capacity added in the United States.
- The impact of the pandemic has hit distributed solar the hardest – the segment will see 31% fewer installations than 2019 and substantial decreases in residential and non-residential markets.
- Wood Mackenzie forecasts 33% annual growth in 2020, with nearly 18 GW of installations expected – down 1.7 GW from the earlier U.S. forecast
Despite the miserable year, Wood Mackenzie anticipates 33% growth in 2020, due to the robust 14 GW utility-scale PV segment, which is being driven by record utility-scale procurement totals in 2019 and the first quarter of this year.