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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Just-published industry data shows that installation of renewable power and battery storage capacity is on a record pace this year.

By the numbers: The American Clean Power Association said 9,915 megawatts of capacity came online in the first half of this year — a 17% increase over the first half of 2020.

  • On a quarterly basis, new solar installations in April-June were 2,226 megawatts of capacity, a 73% jump over the first quarter.
  • Q2 wind capacity installations were 2,824 megawatts, similar to Q1 and above the same period last year.

New battery storage capacity is growing even faster, albeit from a much smaller base, with Q2 installations of 570 megawatts compared to roughly 100 in Q1.

  • The storage amount added this year already comes close to matching 2020's full-year additions.
  • U.S. battery storage is expected to see a lot more growth in the years ahead.
Reproduced from the EIA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The chart above is from a new Energy Information Administration report on the storage market.

  • It looks at large-scale systems — that is, grid-connected projects with a capacity of more than 1 megawatt.
  • Most of the large-scale systems coming online in the next few years will be co-located with solar installations.
  • Of note: The EIA report is based on surveys of the industry and does not try to model potential policy changes or new incentives.

The intrigue: While renewables are surging, the industry and the White House say new policies are needed to reach President Biden's target of 100% carbon-free power by 2035.

  • The trade group is pushing for an extension of renewable power tax credits, the creation of federal storage and transmission credits and other steps.
  • "This growth and expansion are expected to continue but we need policymakers in Washington to make long term decisions to ensure we can continue to develop these critical projects," CEO Heather Zichal said in a statement.

Go deeper

Earnings season is here

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The third-quarter earnings season is going to be telling. We all expected monster numbers across the board out of Q2 results — but this time around, some companies will distinguish themselves more than others for how they’ve managed the escalating supply chain headaches and effects of the Delta variant.

Why it matters: The blistering pace of economic growth is expected to have slowed in Q3. That will show up earnings, which began trickling out last week.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.