‘A step in the wrong direction’: US utility-scale solar deployment fell 53% in Q2

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The report revealed that NextEra is the developer with the most solar capacity in its pipeline. Image: NextEra Energy.

US utility-scale solar installations in Q2 2022 were down 53% year-on-year as policy headwinds and trade issues impacted development and increased the backlog of delayed projects, a new report has revealed.

The industry installed 41 solar projects in the country with a total capacity of 1,575MW during the quarter, meaning solar deployment during the first half of 2022 was 25% lower than H1 2021, according to the research from trade body the American Clean Power Association (ACP).

It said that other headwinds impacting renewables development include commodity prices, pandemic-related delays, supply chain issues and increased operating costs.

US utility-scale clean power deployment in Q2 was down 55% year-on-year to 3,188MW.

“We have been warning about the storm of policy and economic headwinds the clean power industry is facing, and this is a step in the wrong direction,” said Heather Zichal, CEO at ACP.

“Congressional inaction and uncertainty on long-term tax policy, tariff and trade restrictions, and transmission constraints all impact the demand for clean energy at a time when we need to be rapidly scaling up development.”

The report noted that the availability of solar modules has significantly delayed project schedules following the Department of Commerce’s decision to investigate duty circumventions claims.

With nearly 21GW of solar projects currently delayed in the US, the ACP said much of this is a direct result of “misguided trade actions”.

Solar module imports into the US fell earlier this year amid the threat of prospective retroactive tariffs stemming from Commerce’s investigation, which began in March. As a result, President Joe Biden has since waived tariffs on solar imports from four Southeast Asian countries for two years.

Despite regulatory headwinds, the ACP report notes that solar continues to be the leading technology in the US’s clean energy pipeline, with 22,765MW of solar capacity under construction and 50,938MW in advanced development.

Texas is the top solar development state in the country, with 14,117MW in the pipeline, followed by California (7,679MW) and Indiana (6,325MW).

The report revealed that the developer with the most solar capacity in its pipeline is NextEra Energy, followed by Invenergy.

ACP said a bright spot was the increase in clean power procurement, as renewables power purchase agreements in Q2 2022 totalled 8,502MW, a 27% increase year-on-year.

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