US solar pv market continues to drop due to COVID-19


The US solar pv market continues to decline due to COVID-19 related disruptions, with the country recording a drop of 6% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter.

According to a new study released by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the US solar market installed 3.5GW of new solar PV capacity in Q2 2020.

The residential and non-residential segments saw a significant slowdown in the quarter. Installations were down 23% quarter over quarter in the residential segment, and 12% quarter over quarter in the non-residential sector, due to restrictions and shelter-in-place orders imposed to curb the pandemic.

However, utility-scale solar remained resilient, representing 71% of all new solar capacity brought online.

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Solar accounted for 37% all new electric generating capacity added in the US in the first half of 2020, as Texas and Florida each installed over 900MW across distributed and utility solar in the second quarter.

The report said a total of 8.7GWdc of new utility PV power-purchase agreements were announced in the second quarter, bringing the contracted pipeline to a total of 62GWdc. 

Wood Mackenzie forecasts a 37% annual growth in 2020, with 18GW of new solar installations expected. This is a 6% decrease from pre-pandemic forecasts.

Looking ahead, the US solar market is expected to install nearly 100GW from 2021-2025, a 42% increase in the amount of solar installed over the last five years.

Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO, said: “The growth we see in this report underscores the resilience of the solar industry as we deal with Covid work stoppages, a struggling economy, harmful trade policy and an uncertain tax environment.

“Tens of thousands of our workers have been laid off or furloughed amid this crisis, and SEIA remains firm in our commitment to fight for equitable policy that allows the solar industry to compete and grow our workforce.” 

Austin Perea, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, adds: “The impact of the pandemic on residential solar installations varied substantially by geography.

“States with more restrictive stay-at-home orders saw significant declines in quarterly solar additions, whereas states with less restrictive stay-at-home directives – such as Arizona and Texas – saw marginal if any decline in quarterly installations.”

Read more about the report.