Virus crisis could hit over 2 GW of US utility-scale solar

Solar system. Author: Oregon Department of Transportation. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

April 3 (Renewables Now) - The construction timelines of as much as 2 GW of utility-scale solar projects under development in the US could be delayed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wood Mackenzie warns in a new report.

The given capacity is in direct current (DC) and is based on assumptions for a best-case scenario of the situation’s outcome. The market research firm expects up to four weeks of equipment supply delays in its most optimistic forecast for the sector after the virus spread and disrupted the global supply chain.

If the worst-case scenario is adopted, the supply chain and project development could be completely paralysed for several weeks, pushing the completion of over 5 GW of utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) projects into the second half of this year or even into 2021.

Overall, the US’ solar module supply is particularly jeopardised by the potential halt of production both domestically and in South-east Asia, as well as shipping and logistics delays on a global level, Wood Mackenzie points out. A module bill of materials (BOM) shortage is also a threat to the market.

For the utility-scale market, delays caused by the potential closing of US ports and supply delays of products are two of the major obstacles that could hinder project development.

Financial risks posed by the COVID-19 outbreak have not been taken into account in the report.

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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