“Solar in the Southeast” report: Federal actions could propel the solar industry forward – SACE | Southern Clean Energy AllianceSACE

In this second blog post in our series on the fifth annual “Solar in the Southeast”, SACE details the supply chain disruption currently affecting the solar sector and the resulting reduction in near-term forecasts. .

Bryan Jacob | August 4, 2022

| Energy policy, solar, utilities

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We started the fifth annual “Solar in the Southeast” report with the following paragraph to emphasize that solar is resilient.

The Southeast is not immune to the various headwinds currently facing the sun across the United States. Still, solar power in the Southeast continued to show substantial growth in 2021, topping 15 gigawatts (GW, or 15,000 megawatts) on a full-year operational equivalent basis. The Southeast has achieved an average solar ratio of 484 watts per customer for 2021.

15 GW for 2021 is just slightly less than we forecast in last year’s report, and this can be attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The current supply chain disruption is much more severe, causing our forecast for 2022 and 2023 to be reduced by approximately 2 GW. Georgia Power alone announced a full-year delay of 970 MW due to the current supply chain disruption.

As we explain in the report, the Commerce Department was compelled to investigate potential circumvention of anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on crystalline silicon solar cells from China. This investigation and the uncertainty it has created has crippled the international solar supply chain – at least temporarily.

The Southeast already contributes significantly to the domestic supply of solar modules – with Jinko Solar in Jacksonville, Florida, and Hanwha Q Cells in Dalton, Georgia – the largest solar module manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere. But the vast majority of solar modules are still sourced internationally. So while domestic manufacturing expands to meet demand, we must always rely on international supply.

To both accelerate the transition to domestic sourcing and stabilize the market in the near term, President Biden announced a series of measures on June 6, including a 24-month moratorium on import duties for four key countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia. Even so, it may take more than a year for the solar market to return to normal. The updated SACE forecast (below) shows that 2024 is when the industry will return to roughly the same level we predicted in last year’s report before the Auxin petition disrupted things.

Source: Fifth annual report “Solar in the South-East” of SACE; July 2022, page 5.

In other encouraging news, even since we released this year’s Solar Report, Senators Manchin and Schumer have reached agreement on a fiscal reconciliation package, called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which includes $369 billion for climate and clean energy. The solar industry supports the Clean Energy Incentive Package which includes extending the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and offering a “pay direct” option to make it refundable in certain limited circumstances.

We invite you to act with us to help pass this meaningful legislation that will help propel the solar – and clean energy – industry forward.

Take Action: Urge Your Members of Congress to Take Climate Action

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Amanda J. Marsh