US Solar Exceeded 100GW amidst Major Impacts of Cost and Pandemic

published: 2021-07-07 9:30 | editor: | category: News

According to the report of the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie, the installed capacity of solar energy in the US has surpassed 100GW, and the new installed capacity during the first quarter of 2021 had also arrived at a new height. However, the simultaneous increase in the cost of materials and modules of solar energy still imposes numerous challenges for the future.

This particular US solar market report pointed out that the installed capacity of solar arrived at 5GW in the first quarter of 2021, which is a YoY growth of 46% compared to the pandemic-affected 2020, and solar energy accounted for 58% of new energy devices (the rest are occupied by wind energy), of which a major portion came from Texas at more than 1.52GW of solar installation, followed by California and Florida at 563MW and 525MW respectively.

Although Europe has long exceeded the 100GW threshold, and, according to the statistics of SolarPower Europe, has even managed to achieve 137GW of installed capacity at the end of 2020, what the US has accomplished can still be considered a milestone in energy.

However, the US still has to overcome numerous challenges, which are also impacting the entire world at the same time. The report pointed out issues like the increasingly constrained supply of critical solar components, such as multi polysilicon, steel, aluminum, semiconductor chips and copper; the tightened supply of microchips and the surging shipping costs driven by the popularity of solar demand and the COVID-19 pandemic have also resulted in a price increase in solar products, followed by a postponement of lead time.

The price of steel has risen by 10% since the outbreak of the pandemic, and has impacted the cost of solar frames and daylight tracking systems, where the main ramification falls on public solar utilities and solar carports that require additional frames. Multi polysilicon currently has a balanced supply and demand, though a minor malfunctioning in the capacity could lead to significant consequences.

Public utilities that are currently developing solar projects have sustained the largest impact. Developers are hoping to renegotiate the PPA, alongside an increase in prices and a mitigation on the date of grid connection, though the existing ferocious market status does not facilitate easy inflation. Michelle Davis, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie, commented that these factors are affecting the solar industry, and the shortages of equipment are forcing solar installers to commence new contract negotiations.

(Cover photo source: Flickr/Bureau of Land ManagementCC BY 2.0)

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