US installed 19.2 GW of solar capacity in 2020

The U.S. solar industry installed a record 19.2 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2020, according to the »U.S. Solar Market Insight 2020 Year-in-Review« report, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie. For the second year in a row, solar led all technologies in new electric-generating capacity added.
The 8 GW of new installations in Q4 2020 marks »the largest quarter in U.S. solar history.« For perspective, the U.S. solar market added 7.5 GW of new capacity in all of 2015. New capacity additions in 2020 represent a 43 percent increase from 2019 and breaks the U.S. solar market’s previous record of 15.1 GW set in 2016. In 2020, 27 states installed over 100 MW of new solar capacity. California, Texas and Florida are the top three states for annual solar capacity additions for the second straight year, and Virginia joins them as a fourth state installing over 1 GW of solar PV.
According to the report, residential deployment was up 11 percent from 2019, reaching a record 3.1 GW. This was lower than the 18 percent annual growth in 2019, as residential installations were significantly impacted by the pandemic in the first half of 2020. Non-residential installations declined 4 percent from 2019, with 2 GW installed. The pandemic impacted this segment through delayed project interconnections and prolonged development timelines.
There was a historic 6.3 GW of utility-scale projects installed in Q4 2020, bringing the annual total just shy of 14 GW. A total of 5 GW of new utility solar power purchase agreements were announced in Q4 2020, bringing the volume of project announcements in 2020 to 30.6 GW and the full utility-scale contracted pipeline to 69 GW.
Summarized, total installed solar capacity in the US stood at 97.2 GW by the end of 2020. The number of solar energy systems installed exceed 2.79 million, and over 3 percent of US electricity comes from solar energy. About 250.000 people are currently employed by the US solar industry.
The recent two-year extension of the investment tax credit (ITC) »will drive greater solar adoption through 2025,« said Michelle Davis, senior analyst from Wood Mackenzie. By 2030, Wood Mackenzie is forecasting that the total operating solar fleet will more than quadruple and the U.S. solar industry could install a cumulative 324 GW of new capacity to reach a total of 419 GW. »Compelling economics for distributed and utility-scale solar along with decarbonization commitments from numerous stakeholders will result in a landmark installation rate of over 50 GW by the end of the decade.«
»This report makes it clear that smart policies work,« said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. »The forecast shows that by 2030, the equivalent of one in eight American homes will have solar.«

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