Solar panel shipments to U.S. reached record highs in 2022 as 10.9 GW of new capacity deployed

Published on August 31, 2023 by Chris Galford

© Shutterstock

According to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), solar photovoltaic panel shipments to the country increased to record levels last year, with 10 percent growth over 2021.

Shipments reached 31.7 million peak kW in 2022, and that positive energy followed into capacity as well, given that 10.9 GW of new utility-scale solar capacity was added that same year. That meant a record-setting moment for shipments and the second-largest addition for capacity, beaten only by 2021’s 13.5 GW deployments. Even in terms of small-scale solar capacity, the United States added 6.4 GW last year – another record.

Fueling the rush are major cost drops since 2010, which saw the average value of U.S. solar panel shipments tumble from $1.96 per peak watt in 2010 to a fraction of that price last year: $0.39 per peak watt. Inflation and higher material and shipping costs did have some impact, though, as the average value of solar panel shipments increased 15 percent from 2021.

The overwhelming majority of solar panel shipments were imports: about 88 percent of U.S. shipments fit that bill. Most came from Asia.

Growth continued despite delays or cancellations caused until this year, due to solar panel supply chain issues such as import seizures of products made through Uyghur forced labor in China. While detained panels were released once importers could prove compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), the delay hit solar project timelines hard.