Power plant developers in the USA plan to install 17.8 GW of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generating capacity in 2022, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s June 2022 Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory. Over the first six months of 2022, 4.2 GW of that capacity came online, less than half of what the industry had planned to install in those months. From January through June 2022, about 20% of planned solar photovoltaic capacity was delayed.
EIA’s preliminary data from January through June 2022 show that PV solar installations were delayed by an average of 4.4 GW each month, compared with average monthly delays of 2.6 GW during the same period last year. In most cases, reported delays are for six months or less.
Various factors could cause delays, including broad economic factors, such as supply chain constraints, labour shortages, and high prices of components, and factors specific to electric generator projects, such as obtaining permits or testing equipment.
In February, the USA extended tariffs on imported crystalline silicon solar products from China, which raised the tariff-rate quota from 2.5 GW to 5.0 GW and excluded bifacial panels from the extension of duties. In April, the US Dept of Commerce announced an anti-dumping circumvention investigation of solar cells and modules imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, countries that allegedly use parts made in China that otherwise would be subject to tariffs.
In June, the US president took executive action to advance the deployment of solar power in the United States. He authorised the easing of import duties for a 24-month period for solar cells and modules imported from the countries under investigation and invoked the Defense Production Act to expand domestic production of solar modules. Any determination that the Department of Commerce reaches in its investigation will apply after this 24-month period ends.
In EIA’s monthly survey, it asks respondents who plan to bring generators online in the near future which stage their projects are in: testing, construction, permitting, or planning. Most of the projects that will come online in the next 18 months are under construction. About 1.9 GW of solar capacity installations are projects under construction that have been delayed but are still scheduled to come online in 2022; another 1.7 GW under construction have been delayed to 2023.