The United States solar industry now boasts the largest pipeline of utility-scale solar projects in history with a record 37.9 gigawatts (GW) of contracted solar, according to the latest figures from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Wood Mackenzie and the SEIA published the latest US Solar Market Insight Report on Tuesday, which revealed the record-breaking figures. The contracted pipeline of utility-scale solar follows a record-high procurement of 15 GW in 2018 with more than 6 GW of solar capacity added to the five-year forecast since last quarter.
Utility-scale solar project announcements hit 11.2 GW in the first half of 2019 with 6.2 GW being announced in the second quarter alone, and the utility solar pipeline growth was paired with a rebounding residential solar industry.
“It’s no surprise that the U.S. solar pipeline is surging as costs continue to fall and solar becomes the lowest cost option for utilities, corporations and families,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “However, as we push for solar to represent 20% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030, smart policies like an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit will be critical to reach this goal.”
US Solar PV Price Declines and Deployment Growth
Corporate procurement has served to bolster the solar industry’s growth with several utilities announcing large solar procurements and corporate off-takers such as Starbucks, Microsoft, and Anheuser-Busch announcing major contracts. According to the report, off-site corporate solar procurement now represents 17% of the new utility-scale solar capacity announced in 2019.
“As more companies commit to 100% renewable power, corporate offsite procurement is expected to drive more than 20% of new utility-scale capacity additions from 2019 through 2024,” said Colin Smith, senior solar analyst with Wood Mackenzie. “Cities, states and utilities are already following through on their renewable energy and zero carbon commitments. We’re starting to see procurement occur and expect even more RPS-driven procurement in the near- to mid-term.”
Looking forward, Wood Mackenzie is now forecasting a 17% year-over-year growth in 2019 in the United States with 12.6 GW of installations expected to be completed by year’s end.
US PV Installation Forecast, 2010-2024 (estimated)
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