Utility-Scale Solar Stays Resilient Regardless of Pandemic

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The US solar market installed 3.5 GW of new photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the second quarter, a 6% decrease from installations in the first quarter. At the same time, solar energy on a supply scale remained stable despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which accounts for 71% of all new solar capacity switched online in the second quarter. This is evident from the recently released US Solar Market Insight Q3 2020 report.

The report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie found that the residential and non-residential segments slowed significantly during the quarter. The installations in the residential sector decreased by 23% compared to the previous quarter and in the non-residential sector by 12% compared to the previous quarter, which was due to restrictions and protection orders to contain the pandemic.

“The growth we see in this report underscores the solar industry’s resilience to dealing with COVID work stoppages, a tough economy, harmful trade policies and an uncertain tax environment,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of SEIA. “Tens of thousands of our employees have been laid off or on leave during this crisis and SEIA remains committed to fighting for fair policies that enable the solar industry to compete and grow our workforce.”

Solar accounted for 37% of all new generation capacity added in the US in the first half as Texas and Florida each installed over 900 MW of distributed and powered solar in the second quarter. According to the report, a total of 8.7 GW DC of new power purchase agreements for PV utilities were announced in the second quarter, expanding the contractually agreed pipeline to a total of 62 GW DC.

Wood Mackenzie is forecasting 37% annual growth this year with 18 GW of new solar panels expected. This is a 6% decrease from pre-pandemic predictions. The US solar market is projected to install nearly 100 GW from 2021 to 2025, representing a 42% increase in the amount of solar installed over the past five years.

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