Mar 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

U.S. solar had a record year in 2020

U.S. solar PV installations

Additions of new U.S. solar generating capacity broke new records last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic slowing some types of projects, per new industry data.

Why it matters: It shows a surge in growth thanks to increasing cost competitiveness, but also how solar continues to benefit from supportive state and federal policies.

What's next: On the latter point, the analysis takes stock of last year's two-year extension of eligibility for federal tax incentives for building new projects.

  • That extension, part of last year's huge year-end spending and tax deal, boosted their projected 2021-2025 deployment by 17%.
  • However, as you can see above, deployment surges for years thereafter in the decade's second half, according to the report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie.

By the numbers: 2020 saw the installation of 19.2 gigawatts of new U.S. capacity, representing 43% of all new power generating capacity additions, they said.

  • Looking forward, the report forecasts that 324 gigawatts will be added over the course of this decade.
  • "This growth will be spread across all market segments as distributed solar customers, utilities, states, and corporations push to decarbonize the grid," it states.
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