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Solar sector grows with government support and lower prices

June 01, 2021

Power Magazine:

Solar power has long been part of the global push for renewable energy, and power industry analysts say it may only have scratched the surface of its potential. Solar led all power sources in terms of added generation capacity in 2020; a March report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says the U.S. added a record 19.2 GW of new capacity last year, a 43% increase from 2019. The group said utility-scale installations in 2020 experienced a 65% increase from 2019.

The story is much the same worldwide. Analysts predict 20% growth in China this year, as much as 30% growth in the U.S., and have said India, Latin America, and the Middle East all could see as much as a 60% increase in solar deployment in 2021.

U.S. solar installations are expected to quadruple from current levels by 2030, according to the SEIA report. The group said the U.S. today has more than 97 GW of installed solar power generation capacity. SEIA said that in the last three months of 2020, the U.S. installed just more than 8 GW of new generation capacity, a record for any quarter, and more than all the capacity—7.5 GW—added in 2015. And U.S. growth, certainly at least in the next few years, will be supported by new tax credits and subsidy incentives from the federal government.

“The American Jobs Act (AJA) proposes approximately $2 trillion for infrastructure and climate change,” said Mike Bammel, managing director at JLL, which provides advisory and capital structuring services for renewable energy developers. “Although the AJA must go through the legislative process, it is encouraging for the solar power sector,” Bammel told POWER. “The federal government can use its purchasing power to drive innovation and clean energy, which in part would target rehabilitating and retrofitting schools, veterans’ hospitals, and federal buildings, for example.”

[Darrell Proctor]

More: Positive signs support solar sector

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