US solar installations expected to be a record 32 GW in 2023

The US solar industry is expecting to install an unprecedented 32 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity in 2023, according to a report released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.

This year’s anticipated installed solar capacity is a 52% surge from 2022, according to the new “US Solar Market Insight Q3 2023” report.

Supply chain bottlenecks as a result of the pandemic and restrictive trade policies have negatively impacted the solar market in recent years. But these challenges are beginning to recede, and as the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) policies gain momentum, Wood Mackenzie expects total US operating solar capacity to grow from 153 GW today to 375 GW by 2028.

SEIA president and CEO, Abigail Ross Hopper, said, “The solar and storage industry is delivering abundant clean energy that is generating tens of billions of dollars of private investment, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

A huge surge of new US manufacturing investments – again, catalyzed by the IRA – is also expected to boost domestic solar supply conditions over the next few years. If those factories come online, then by 2026, US solar panel manufacturing output will be 10 times greater than it is today, reports the SEIA.

The utility-scale and residential solar markets saw new capacity additions of 3.3 GW and 1.8 GW, respectively, in Q2 2023. That’s the residential solar market’s largest quarter of growth in history as customers in California rushed to install solar before changes to net metering rules took effect. (California is ranked number 2 in the US for solar installation capacity behind Florida.)

The commercial solar market saw a decline in Q2, mainly because of project interconnection backlogs and a pause in moving projects forward before getting clarity on IRA tax credits. Despite these challenges, increasing energy prices in certain states are driving demand in the commercial solar market, so the sector is expected to see 11% growth by 2023.

Michelle Davis, head of global solar at Wood Mackenzie, said, “In the year since its passage, the IRA has undoubtedly caused a wave of optimism across the solar industry. Announcements for domestic module manufacturing have exploded, promising more stable solar module supply in the future.

“Now the challenge becomes implementation – the industry is waiting for clarity on several IRA provisions before moving forward with solar investments.”

Photo: Enphase Energy

Read more: A record 270 GW of solar is predicted worldwide for 2023


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