USA has surpassed 100 GW of PV

In Q1 2021, the U.S. solar market installed just over 5 GW of solar capacity, a 46 percent increase over the first quarter of 2020 and the largest Q1 on record, according to the latest report »U.S. Solar Market Insight«, a quarterly publication of Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). With Q1 additions, cumulative solar capacity in the U.S. has officially surpassed 100 GW (dc). Solar accounted for 58 percent of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the U.S. in Q1 2021.
Residential solar had its largest-ever first quarter and second-largest quarter in history, »setting up 2021 to be the biggest year yet for the market.« This market segment was down 8 percent from Q4 2020, but up 11 percent from Q1 2020 with 905 MW installed due »to healthy sales pipelines that spilled over into the first quarter,« says the report.
Commercial solar's installations reached 347 MW in Q1, an increase of 19 percent over Q1 2020. Community solar declined 15 percent from Q1 2020 to 131 MW installed in Q1 2021. Utility-scale solar set a record for first-quarter installations at 3.6 GW. Texas made up the largest share of this capacity, with more than 1.5 GW of installations, followed by California (563 MW) and Florida (525 MW).
A total of 6.2 GW of new utility-scale solar power purchase agreements were announced in Q1 2021, on par with Q1 2020. The total utility-scale contracted pipeline has grown to nearly 77 GW. According to the researchers, there are 17 GW of projects under construction, 10.6 GW of which are slated to come online this year, putting the market on pace to hit a record-breaking 17.9 GW of annual capacity additions in 2021.
The consultancy Wood Mackenzie forecasts that the solar industry »will continue to break annual installation records every year for the next three years« before the investment tax credit (ITC) fully phases down under current law. Another 160 GW of capacity will be installed between 2021 and 2026 to accompany today’s current operational fleet of over 100 GW. »This will bring the total operating PV fleet to over 250 GW by the end of 2026.«
© PHOTON

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