U.S. photo voltaic capability passes 100 gigawatts, however challenges persist

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The US is now house to over 100 gigawatts of photo voltaic photovoltaic capability, in response to a brand new report, though rising prices may pose challenges to the sector.

The figures come from the most recent U.S. Photo voltaic Market Perception report, launched on Tuesday by the Photo voltaic Power Industries Affiliation and Wooden Mackenzie.

It discovered that America’s photo voltaic business put in barely greater than 5 GW of photovoltaic capability within the first three months of 2021. This represents a file for the primary quarter and is 46% larger than the identical interval in 2020.

On a state by state stage, Texas got here out on prime, putting in greater than 1.52 GW of capability, adopted by California and Florida, the place 563 and 525 megawatts have been put in.

Wanting on the larger image, the report states that photo voltaic made up “58% of all new electricity-generating capability added” in the US through the first quarter. Wind, it says, was liable for “many of the the rest.”

Whereas the U.S. photo voltaic business has now surpassed 100 GW of capability, different markets have already reached that milestone. Towards the top of 2020, SolarPower Europe mentioned capability within the European Union stood at greater than 137 GW.

The above figures relate to direct present, or DC, scores versus alternating present. Capability is the utmost quantity that installations can produce, not essentially what they’re at the moment producing, whereas photovoltaic refers to a manner of instantly changing mild from the solar into electrical energy.

Challenges forward

Whereas the quantity of installations within the U.S. seems to be encouraging, the sector faces some potential headwinds going ahead.

“During the last a number of quarters,” the report’s government abstract states, “crucial elements for photo voltaic gear — polysilicon, metal, aluminum, semiconductor chips, copper and different metals — have change into more and more supply-constrained.”

It provides {that a} rising demand for photo voltaic, “mixed with pandemic-related macroeconomic realities” — which embody the provision of microchips and a hike in delivery prices — had seen commodity costs improve and deliveries delayed.

“There’s a lag between commodity costs and subsequent photo voltaic system costs,” mentioned Michelle Davis, principal analyst at Wooden Mackenzie Energy & Renewables and lead writer of the report.

“However there is not any doubt that is impacting the photo voltaic business,” she added. “Installers are managing present gear shortages and having to resolve whether or not to renegotiate contracts.”

Whereas the rise in photo voltaic installations is more likely to be welcome information to advocates of renewable vitality, any transfer away from fossil fuels will likely be a major problem that requires an enormous quantity of change.

Within the U.S., preliminary figures from the U.S. Power Info Administration present that pure gasoline and coal’s shares of utility-scale electrical energy era in 2020 have been 40.3% and 19.3%, respectively.

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