ACP survey: At least 65 percent of utility-scale solar projects at risk into 2023

survey results

Industry feedback continues to be compiled since the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated the anti-circumvention investigation on solar imports from four countries in Southeast Asia. And that feedback from the utility-scale solar segment, as you’d expect, is not good.

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) collected market impact data from leading utility-scale solar developers representing over 150 active solar projects. This sampling of the industry is just that – a sampling – and “the economy-wide implications are almost certainly greater than what is presented here,” the group says. “This preliminary market feedback makes clear the inquiry is already having a severe adverse impact on the industry.”

Prior to the decision by Commerce to initiate this inquiry, market researchers anticipated 17 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale crystalline silicon (c-si) solar to be added to the grid in 2022 and nearly 20 GW in 2023.

ACP’s market impact survey indicates that at least 65% of the projected c-si market across 2022-2023 is already at significant risk of cancellation or delay.

The most common reason cited for this impact was a lack of module availability. Given the extreme tariff risk (up to 250%) that could be applied retroactively back to April 1, 2022, production and supply to the U.S. from the targeted countries has largely been halted. This lack of supply of planned solar modules has put a substantial portion of new solar projects at risk of being cancelled or pushed out for a year or longer.

From these known data alone, ACP lays out these implications across 2022 and 2023:

  • A 47% reduction in President Biden’s solar goal which calls for 81GW of new solar capacity across 2022-2023
  • The loss of 38,000 American jobs in development, manufacturing, construction, and site operations (which is equivalent to more than a third of the entire utility-scale solar workforce in 2020)
  • $30 billion in lost economic investment, and billions more in lost contributions to local communities, landowners, and philanthropic endeavors
  • An increase in American’s energy bills as utilities and energy purchasers replace planned solar energy with higher cost fossil fuel sources of energy
  • Close to 50% of energy storage projects would be similarly impacted as they are co-located with new solar construction.

“The results from this study are more than just numbers on a page. Behind each data point are proud men and women that power clean energy in America, who are rightfully questioning why President Biden’s own administration is imperiling their livelihoods,” said Heather Zichal, the CEO of the American Clean Power Association. “President Biden and the Department of Commerce must swiftly dismiss this inquiry for what it is – a self-serving attempt by one lone company to game the system to the detriment of the domestic solar industry.”

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