According to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Q3 2023 report, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie, the U.S. solar industry anticipates a remarkable addition of 32 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity in 2023. This represents a substantial 52% surge compared to the previous year, 2022.
In recent times, the solar market faced significant challenges due to disruptions in the supply chain, primarily triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and compounded by restrictive trade policies. However, these hurdles are now showing signs of diminishing. With the implementation of policies outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Wood Mackenzie foresees a substantial growth trajectory for the total operational solar capacity. They project an increase from the current 153 GW to an impressive 375 GW by the year 2028.
“The United States is now a dominant player in the global clean energy economy, and states like Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Georgia are at the forefront of this job growth and economic prosperity,” noted SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “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.”
Anticipated new investments in domestic manufacturing are expected to enhance supply conditions in the coming years. Should these factory plans come to fruition, the output of solar modules manufactured in the U.S. is projected to surge to ten times its current level by the year 2026.
During Q2, it was the utility-scale and residential solar markets that led the way in terms of new capacity additions, experiencing growth of 3.3 GW and 1.8 GW, respectively. This represents the most significant quarter of expansion ever recorded in the residential solar market, driven by Californian customers rushing to install solar systems before impending changes to net metering regulations were implemented.
“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,” added Michelle Davis, Head of Global Solar at Wood Mackenzie. “Now the challenge becomes implementation — the industry is waiting for clarity on several IRA provisions before moving forward with solar investments.”
The decline in the commercial solar market during Q2 can be primarily attributed to project interconnection delays and a cautious approach toward advancing projects until there is complete clarity on the tax credit adders within the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Despite grappling with these challenges, the commercial solar sector is experiencing increased demand in select states, driven by rising energy prices. As a result, the sector is projected to achieve an 11% growth rate in 2023.
Florida maintains its position as a dominant player in the state solar rankings for 2023. The state has installed a remarkable 2.5 GW of new capacity in the first half of this year alone. This figure surpasses the next leading state, California, by 52%, and it already represents more solar capacity than Florida has ever added in a single year.