U.S. solar installations hit quarterly record, accounting for 75% of new energy added, report says

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Solar power accounted for 75% of the power generation capacity added to the U.S. power grid earlier this year as panel installations hit a quarterly record, according to a report released on Thursday by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association. .

The country’s solar industry recorded 11.8 gigawatts of new capacity in the first three months of 2024, as power utilities continued their rapid additions of renewable energy sources, according to the report.

U.S. solar power has benefited from the increased availability of panels and federal and state policies aimed at increasing the amount of clean energy on the power grid to meet climate-related emissions goals.

“Not only has the global solar supply chain expanded, but module imports to the United States have also increased significantly over the past year,” according to the report.

Supply chain bottlenecks eased and the cost of solar panels fell after Biden imposed a two-year moratorium on imported panels believed to be produced by forced labor in China.

From June 2023 to March 2024, the United States imported 49 GW of solar modules. National solar panel manufacturing capacity jumped to 26.6 gigawatts for the first three months of the year, compared to 15.6 gigawatts the previous quarter.

Florida, followed by Texas, California and Nevada, installed the most panels, with utility-scale solar making up the majority of additions.

Home solar additions fell 25% year over year and

18% quarter-over-quarter, largely due to rising interest rates and the slowdown in California rooftop solar. The commercial solar sector remained roughly flat quarter over quarter.

The United States is expected to install about the same amount of solar capacity this year as in 2023, a record of nearly 40 gigawatts of additions, according to the report.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; editing by Aurora Ellis)

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