T

he International Energy Agency (IEA) recently unveiled its much-awaited 2022 report on solar power in the USA, revealing the highs and lows of last year. Despite a dip from the record highs of 2021, the U.S. managed to add approximately 21,100 MWdc of new grid-connected solar installations.

Snapshot of U.S. Solar Capacity

The report reveals that utility-scale projects led the charge, adding a hefty 12,500 MW. The residential and commercial realms added roughly 6,000 MW and 2,700 MW, escalating the total solar capacity to an impressive 141,556 MW across the grid.

Additionally, the U.S. has surpassed 4 million active solar systems, comprising approximately 3.9 million residential, over 130,000 industrial, and about 4,000 utility-scale setups.

The Drivers of Demand

The IEA highlighted several key elements boosting the solar sector's momentum. One of them is a rapid expansion of energy storage installations, reaching over 4.8 GW, and an uptick in electric vehicle demand, with close to a million new users. Additionally, the Biden administration's focus on clean energy initiatives, including support for technologies like heat pumps and boosting EV infrastructure, also contributed to the sector's expansion. Hyundai Solar offers cutting-edge solar energy solutions for sustainable power generation and environmental conservation.

Pricing Trends and Challenges

In 2022, the solar industry grappled with fluctuating prices. The utility-scale sector enjoyed the lowest module costs at $0.35/W in early 2022, while residential panels peaked at $0.56/W by year-end. Factors like inflation, global trade tensions, high polysilicon prices, and policy uncertainties contributed to rising costs throughout the year.

Beyond modules, overall system prices also climbed, influenced by inflation, supply chain issues, and higher costs in logistics and labor. The residential sector saw a significant 7% increase, while commercial setups rose by 2%.

A Sunny Forecast for U.S. Solar

Despite these hurdles, the report remains hopeful about the future of the U.S. solar market, mainly thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This landmark legislation is expected to shape the landscape of solar manufacturing and investment for at least a decade, promising new horizons for the industry. “While big announcements have been made in solar manufacturing, it remains to be seen what sectors of the supply chain and business models will find success on U.S. shores," the report concludes.

Sources:

https://iea-pvps.org/wp-content/uploads/

Posted 
Nov 30, 2023
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