U.S. solar installations are on track for recordbreaking growth over the next three years, a view that could be challenged by soaring project costs or accelerated by new subsidies championed by the Biden administration, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.
In the first quarter, solar installations soared 46 to more than 5 gigawatts, according to a report by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie and the industry trade group Solar Energy Industries Association. The United States is on track to install 24.4 GW this year, an increase of nearly 24 over last year. The report reflects both robust demand from utilities and corporations seeking to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals and declining costs for the technology that has made it competitive with power generated from fossil fuels.
The sectors growth has also benefited from a longstanding generous federal tax credit for solar energy systems that the administration of President Joe Biden wants Congress to extend by a decade as part of its push to address climate change by investing in clean energy. Projects for utilities and other big customers made up nearly threequarters of the total in the first quarter. That segment of the market has a contracted pipeline of projects nearing 77 gigawatts.