US community solar to grow 7GW by 2027 as more states look to expand access

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The US states of New York and Illinois will have the highest state-level growth in community solar in the next five years. Image: Generate Capital.

At least 7GW of US community solar is expected to come online in the next five years, according to new research from Wood Mackenzie (WoodMac).

The state of New York will continue to lead installations in the community solar sector, with 1.3GW set to be deployed between 2022-2027, while it also had the highest state-level changes in the new forecast, alongside Illinois.

The research firm has upped its forecast by 11% as it expects a further increase of 477MW for the period during 2022-2026, while it also extended its outlook to 2027 due to the additions of new states in the solar community market such as New Mexico and Delaware.

The research was carried out in collaboration with the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), whose CEO, Jeff Cramer, said there were “significant tailwinds” in several states as legislators look to community solar to help achieve their energy policy goals.

“We call on all federal and state policymakers to help remove the barriers and incentivise deployment of community solar to cut energy costs and give more people access to these programmes,” urged Cramer.

Pending legislations for community solar in five states could add a further 1.2GW to the forecasts, WoodMac said.

Since the beginning of Q2 2022, a total of 4.4GW of community solar capacity was installed across the US, with more growth expected as legacy markets expand their community solar programmes and other states adopt additional programmes, according to Rachel Goldstein, US solar research analyst at WoodMac.

Moreover, costs to acquire large customers in the community market was lower and more variable than the acquisition of residential customers on a per watt basis, according to the research.

Goldstein said: “The community solar industry is a growing solar segment within the US, with several proposed new programs pending in state legislatures.”

PV Tech will be taking a close look at the community solar sector in the US through interviews with analysts and experts, including Cramer, in the next edition of PV Tech Power, due out in August.

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