Solar added 2.7GW of capacity in Q2 2023 in the US, half of all clean power installs

Private sector investment in renewables amounts to US$271 billion in the past 12 months in the US. Image: Avantus.

The US solar industry added 2.7GW of capacity during the second quarter of the year, more than half of all clean power installations, according to American Clean Power Association (ACP).

In its Clean Power Quarterly Market Report, ACP highlights that 5.2GW of utility-scale solar, wind and storage capacity was added in Q2 2023, the second highest Q2 in renewables installation after 2021, while there was a 13% increase in renewable projects under construction or in advanced development in comparison with the same period last year.

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Developers commissioned 105 projects across 38 states during Q2 2023. Battery storage had a notable increase year-on-year with a 32% growth in Q2 2023 and ended up accounting for 30% of all clean power installations.

John Hensley, VP of research and analytics, said: “Despite persistent headwinds from regulatory, trade, and supply chain pressures, clean power project additions rebounded as developers managed through delays and worked to keep projects on schedule. To help maintain this momentum, especially as the clean power pipeline grows, we continue to urge policy makers to find bipartisan solutions to address the supply chain and federal permitting challenges obstructing America’s full job-creating clean energy potential.”

Boosted by the influence of the Inflation Reduction Act and the federal incentives – which might be trickier to achieve the domestic content adders than expected – clean power projects that are currently under construction or in advanced development reached 146GW in Q2 2023, with solar PV accounting for 59% of all the projects and increasing 16% from the same period last year.

Delays continue to increase and Q2 2023 was no different with 12GW of delays announced during this quarter, and with a total of 55GW of projects delayed at the end of Q2 2023. However, the ACP expects that more than half of the delayed projects will reach commercial operation by the end of the year.

Despite a slowdown in the price of US power purchase agreements (PPAs) for the first time in three years, PPA announcements have dipped in Q2 2023 by 56% compared to the same period last year, with corporate PPAs falling by 63%, while utility ones increased by 49%.

Moreover, total installed capacity from renewables in the US sits at 237GW, which represents 15.1% of the total electricity generated in the country. By states, Texas sits at the top of the podium with 26.3GW of installed capacity, followed by California with nearly 16GW and New York closes the podium with 9GW. However, in terms of capacity added thus far in 2023, Florida is leading with 1.5GW of renewables installed, followed by Texas with 1.4GW and California with 1.1GW.

US$271 billion in private investment in domestic clean energy

Along with its quarterly market report, the ACP also released the latest update in the private sector investment in clean energy projects and manufacturing which rose to US$271 billion in the past 12 months, exceeding combined energy investments made over the previous eight years.

Jason Grumet, CEO at ACP, said: “The past year has sown the seeds of nothing short of a clean energy revolution. The domestic investments announced in the last twelve months exceed the combined clean energy investments made over the previous eight years.”

In the last 12 months, the US has seen 83 new clean energy manufacturing facilities or expansions announced, most of which from solar PV with 52. Among the most recent capacity additions are Canadian solar manufacturer Heliene and a 1.5GW/1GW of tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) cell and module production in Minnesota; cadmium telluride thin-film manufacturer First Solar announcing a fifth facility in the US that will add 3.5GW of annual capacity in 2026 or Swiss solar manufacturer Meyer Burger planning to build a 2GW solar cell plant in Colorado to provide its module assembly plant in the US.

By states, Texas leads the course with six solar manufacturing plants announced, followed by Georgia with five and Ohio with four. In total 19 states have had a new facility or an expansion announced since the IRA was passed on 16 August 2022.

Total investments in renewables manufacturing capacity alone have already exceeded US$22 billion and cumulate nearly 30,000 new manufacturing jobs associated with all the new facility announcements in the past 12 months.

“The clean energy sector is open for business. To achieve the full potential of these federal incentives, we will need to hire 550,000 Americans by 2030. Sustaining this incredible growth will not be easy and requires that we invest significant time and resources to locate, train, and support a talented and diverse American workforce,” added Grumet.

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