American solar industry crosses 200 GW milestone while setting quarterly capacity records

Published on June 10, 2024 by Chris Galford

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According to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie, the nation’s solar module manufacturing capacity set a record in the first quarter of 2024 with 11 GW brought online.

The nation also reached a total capacity of 200 GW of solar, with another 40 GW planned for the rest of this year. At this point, solar module manufacturing capacity now exceeds 26 GW annually, fueled in large part by massive growth in the utility-scale market. That segment accounted for nearly 10 GW of new capacity over Q1 2024.

“The U.S. solar industry continues to show strength in terms of deployments,” Michelle Davis, head of global solar at Wood Mackenzie and lead author of the report, said. “At the same time, the solar industry faces a number of challenges to its continued growth including availability of labor, high voltage equipment constraints, and continued trade policy uncertainty.”

As Davis alluded to, it was not all tailwinds for the industry, though. Due to policy changes in California, the residential solar segment saw its worst quarter in two years. By comparison, Florida and Texas continued ahead with strong utility-scale growth that topped the new solar capacity charts. New Mexico and Ohio also surged ahead last quarter, with deployments of 686 and 546 MW, respectively.

“This quarter proves that new federal investments in clean energy are revitalizing American manufacturing and strengthening our nation’s energy economy,” Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA president and CEO, said. “Whether it’s a billion-dollar investment in a nearby solar project or a new manufacturing plant employing hundreds of local workers, the solar and storage industry is uplifting communities in every state across this country.”

Further, the report predicted U.S. solar capacity to double over the next five years, to reach 438 GW by 2029.