RE+: a show full of hope, excitement and short-term questions

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
The front of the convention centre in Anaheim, California, where PV Tech has been all week. Image: PV Tech

The RE+ solar tradeshow in Anaheim, California is winding down on the fourth day of proceedings, with attendees slowly streaming out of a venue which has been abuzz with the excitement bestowed by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), although many short-term questions remain.

PV Tech has been on the ground for every day of the event and previously reported how the IRA has taken centre stage at this year’s RE+. From manufacturers and developers to O&M companies and software providers, attendees have found it hard to understate the impact of the US$369 billion package.

But PV Tech has also been eager to stress that the IRA’s impact won’t truly be felt until 2024, with the module supply constraints of the past couple of years set to continue in the short term.

In the here and now, then, solar stakeholders need to structure their finances and operations so as to be prepared to exploit the most from the IRA’s incentives when the start to make a difference. Several large US developers have told PV Tech they are already going into preparation mode and designing strategies to best take advantage of the IRA.

The IRA will incentivise manufacturing and improve project economics but there are still several barriers to greater solar installations, especially in the US. First is to address the US’ interconnection problems which continue to push up project costs and uncertainty as well as causing increasing delays. PV Tech has reported on potential solutions to the US’ grid woes following events and conversations held at RE+.

There is progress being made on this front, but it is slow. The IRA containers US$2 billion for transmission improvements and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) i2X initiative will supply some valuable insights and a five year road map. Meanwhile, Senator Joe Machin’s Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022, published today, will accelerate the construction of transmission infrastructure and provide greater permitting powers, even if it does support gas pipelines too.

Aside from transmission and interconnection, skills and labour shortages across the US solar sector were also a topic of hot discussion at RE+. While work on this front is underway and additional incentives in the IRA will help drive up workforce levels, addressing labour shortages and plugging skills gaps is critical at all stages of the supply chain, from module makers to residential installers. Two years is not a lot of time to do this.

On top of this, you have a good deal of uncertainty regarding how the IRA will be implemented in practice, with a lack of specific details when it comes to domestic content requirements or accessing adders under the scheme causing the greatest legal uncertainty in the US PV sector.  

All in all, however, there has been an overwhelming sense of hope, optimism and excitement about the future of US solar at this year’s show, with a truly transformation support package set to fundamentally reshape the country’s, and perhaps the world’s, solar landscape.

11 October 2022
PV CellTech Extra will be held as a series of live webinars and on-demand sessions on 11-13 October 2022. We'll be taking a slightly further forward-looking view at the technologies and roadmaps for new cell architectures set to dominate mass production during 2023-2025 with special emphasis on the potential timelines for technologies beyond the single-junction cell design, including perovskite and hybrid concepts.

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
September 26, 2022
The way that solar companies use and consume intelligence needs to change, with more accurate and reliable data on project deployment needed, especially in light of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
PV Tech Premium
September 23, 2022
Community solar in the US is projected to grow substantially over the next decade and represents a means of expanding access to underserved communities who are being left out of the energy transition. Sean Rai-Roche explores the drivers of community solar and what obstacles need to be overcome to support its rollout.
September 22, 2022
Qcells has heightened its commitment to the global solar supply chain as its parent company, Hanwha Solutions, increases investment in clean raw materials.
September 22, 2022
Wood Mackenzie has repeated warnings that module supply shortages are set to persist until the end of 2023.
September 21, 2022
Cost certainty, reducing wait times and more flexible agreements with utilities are crucial to solving the US’ interconnections problems that are holding the country back from reaching its renewables targets
September 21, 2022
SEG Solar plans to set up a solar module manufacturing plant in the US state of Texas with an annual capacity of more than 2GW.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
On-Demand Webinars, Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event
Upcoming Webinars
October 18, 2022
10am (EDT) / 4pm (CEST)