Solar supply, trade woes

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI AND JOSH SIEGEL • Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The U.S. solar industry saw a record-breaking third quarter this year, but supply chain constraints and uncertainty surrounding trade policy continue to plague the industry, according to a report released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie. Trade and supply chain headwinds “will cause a significant decrease in installations next year at a time when more solar adoption is critical to addressing the climate crisis,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper in a statement. According to the report, year-over-year price increases in every segment except residential were the highest they’ve been since 2014, when Wood Mackenzie began tracking pricing data.

Residential solar might even take a hit in sunny California, where the California Public Utilities Commission proposed cutting back incentives for rooftop solar installations to the chagrin of industry advocates, Pro’s Colby Bermel reports. The plan would also include a “grid participation charge” for residential solar owners to offset their lower bills, but solar backers said it would just discourage future installations. The proposed decision could get voted on by the CPUC’s commissioners as early as Jan. 27.

On the national front, the industry is setting its sights on key tax incentives in the proposed budget reconciliation package to stimulate solar market growth. An extension of the investment tax credit, for one, would result in an additional 43.5 gigawatts of solar capacity over the next five years, most of which would come from utility solar, according to today’s report. That would bring cumulative solar capacity to over 300 GW, or triple the amount of solar deployed today.