In a significant development for the U.S. solar industry, a report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie reveals that the sector is poised to achieve a record-breaking milestone in 2023. The report, titled “US Solar Market Insight Q3 2023,” highlights that the U.S. solar industry is on track to add an unprecedented 32 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity this year. This marks a substantial 52% increase compared to 2022.
The solar industry in the United States has faced its fair share of challenges in recent years, primarily due to supply chain disruptions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and compounded by trade policy constraints. However, the report suggests that these challenges are gradually subsiding. Moreover, as the policies outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) come into play, Wood Mackenzie projects a remarkable growth trajectory for the sector. It anticipates that the total operating solar capacity will surge from the current 153 GW to a staggering 375 GW by 2028.
SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper emphasized the U.S.’s prominent role in the global clean energy landscape, with states like Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Georgia leading the way in job creation and economic prosperity. Hopper noted that the solar and storage industry is attracting substantial private investment, with immense potential yet to be realized.
A surge in domestic manufacturing investments is also expected to alleviate supply chain concerns in the coming years. Should these manufacturing initiatives materialize as anticipated, the report suggests that U.S. solar module manufacturing output could grow tenfold by 2026.
The report highlights the notable performance of the utility-scale and residential solar markets in Q2, with new capacity additions of 3.3 GW and 1.8 GW, respectively. Notably, the residential solar market experienced its most significant quarterly growth in history, driven in part by Californian customers rushing to install solar systems before changes to net metering regulations took effect.
While the commercial solar market faced challenges in Q2, including project interconnection delays and uncertainty regarding the IRA’s tax credit provisions, it remains resilient. Rising energy prices in select states are bolstering demand, and the commercial solar sector is projected to grow by 11% in 2023.
Florida emerges as a dominant player in the 2023 state solar rankings, having installed an impressive 2.5 GW of new capacity in the first half of the year. This represents a remarkable 52% increase compared to the next highest-ranking state, California, and already surpasses Florida’s previous annual solar capacity installations.
These findings underscore the U.S. solar industry’s resilience and potential for substantial growth, positioning it as a pivotal player in the global transition toward clean and sustainable energy sources.