March 13, 2019 Read More →

U.S. solar outlook surges despite tariffs

Greentech Media:

Projections for utility-scale solar growth from 2020 to 2022 now exceed forecasts drafted before the Trump administration’s announcement of Section 201 tariffs, according to new analysis from energy research and consulting company Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Many external factors, like global oversupply, a spike in corporate procurements and the passage of California’s SB100 law mandating 100 percent clean energy, have helped shift the market since the January 2018 tariff announcement. Analysts say the overall health of the industry has blunted the industry’s worst-fear impacts, even if the dynamics of the market look different than they did then.

“It’s absolutely not apples-to-apples, but to me that’s a really important message,” said Colin Smith, a senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables who covers the utility-scale market. “Not only has the market recovered and done really well despite the tariffs, it’s actually to the point where we expect more solar — at least on the utility-scale solar side — than we did in the pre-tariff conditions.”

Smith said WoodMac’s Q1 2019 utility-scale forecast for 2020 is 8 percent higher than its Q4 2017 forecast, released before the administration finalized tariffs. It’s 2021 forecast is 19 percent higher than the pre-tariff projection.

Notwithstanding the jumble of tariffs impacting solar systems — on modules, inverters and aluminum and steel — prices have also hit historic lows: $0.93 per watt DC for utility fixed-tilt systems and $1.04 per watt DC for utility single-axis tracking systems.

With a robust utility-scale pipeline over 23 gigawatts and expected growth in coming years, analysts say the industry has proved resilient to the tariff-tied uncertainty that once gripped it. Analysts also pointed to an “unprecedented” 13.2 gigawatts of utility-scale power purchase agreements signed last year as another indication of a bounce-back.

More: Utility-scale solar projections now exceed pre-tariff forecasts

Comments are closed.