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2023 Sets Record for US Solar Growth


Last year marked a turning point as solar energy claimed 53% of all newly added electricity generation capacity in the United States. This milestone is the first time a renewable source has outpaced the 50% mark in annual capacity expansion.


SEIA President and CEO, Abigail Ross Hopper, expressed optimism about the future, stating, "If we stick to our current clean energy path, solar deployment is set to quadruple in the next decade." Hopper attributes this surge to the Inflation Reduction Act, catapulting solar deployment and driving an impressive 89% growth in America's solar module manufacturing sector in 2023.


Protecting and optimizing these policies is crucial, with Hopper emphasizing the high stakes in the upcoming election. The impact of these investments and job creation is substantial for the economy.


Projections indicate that total U.S. solar capacity will skyrocket to 673 GW by 2034, a figure sufficient to power over 100 million households. The sun is shining on the future of American energy, and the numbers speak volumes.


The latest report not only delves into solar forecasts but also unpacks the possible impacts of policies and economic shifts on the U.S. solar landscape. A key player in this uncertainty is the upcoming presidential election and the associated policy outcomes. The report contemplates a range of factors, from interest rates and tax credit financing to trade policies, supply chain availability, and interconnection, all spanning the next decade. Notably, the forecast scenarios paint a picture with a 200-GW gap between the high and low estimates by 2034.


Michelle Davis, the head of global solar at Wood Mackenzie and the report's lead author, sheds light on the potential outcomes. "A bullish scenario, featuring increased supply chain stability, more tax credit financing, and lower interest rates, could boost our outlook by 17%," says Davis. Conversely, a bearish scenario with supply chain limitations, reduced tax credit financing, and steady interest rates could deflate the outlook by 24%. Clearly, policy and economic shifts will wield significant influence over the future of the U.S. solar industry.


Despite uncertainties, the solar sector displayed impressive growth across all segments in 2023. The United States now boasts a total installed solar capacity of 177 GW. The utility-scale sector led the charge, contributing 22.5 GW of fresh capacity, while close to 800,000 Americans embraced solar power at home, marking a year-over-year surge. The solar journey in 2023 was undeniably one of growth and promise.



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