The US solar industry installed 3.9 GW direct current (DC) in the first quarter of 2022, the lowest in two years, since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest US Solar Market Insight report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.
The report, released today, showed that solar installations fell 24% year-over-year and 52% quarter-over-quarter amid continued price increases and supply chain constraints.
However, US President Joe Biden’s announcement this week of a two-year suspension of any new solar tariffs provides optimism and certainty for businesses to progress projects delayed by the Department of Commerce’s anti-circumvention investigation, said SEIA and Wood Mackenzie. The probe has caused most solar module manufacturers to suspend shipments to the US to avoid tariff risk.
Because of the uncertainty caused by the investigation, the expectations for 2022 solar installations were cut to 15.6 GW, or 29% below the 2022 outlook from last quarter.
According to Wood Mackenzie’s principal analyst Michelle Davis, the Biden administration’s announcement "is expected to create approximately 2-3 GW of upside potential to Wood Mackenzie’s 2022 base case outlook, assuming the global market resumes normal operations.”
In the first quarter of 2022, the utility-scale segment suffered a steep decline, down 41% from a year ago and 64% from the preceding quarter. Installations came in at 2,173 MW, the lowest since the third quarter of 2019.
Commercial solar declined 28% quarter-over-quarter to 317 MW and community solar contracted 59% quarter-over-quarter to 197 MW.
The residential segment, however, showed robustness, with installations growing 30% year-over-year and 5% quarter-over-quarter to a record 1,247 MW, led by California, Florida and Texas.
The solar industry is now looking at a potential passage of clean energy policies in a federal reconciliation bill, which could significantly boost deployment, according to the report.
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