According to a new report, the solar industry in the United States saw its lowest quarter for installations since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie’s U.S. Solar Market Insight report revealed that the solar market installed only 3.9 gigawatts of solar capacity in the first quarter of 2022, a 24% drop from the same period last year and a 52% drop from the last quarter of 2021.
According to the research, utility-scale solar suffered the worst dip in Q1, with installations falling to their lowest level since 2019. The commercial market shrank by 28% over the previous quarter. The report’s authors cited price hikes and supply chain bottlenecks, as well as trade policy changes in the second half of 2021, for the lowest solar installation rates in the past two years.
In addition to price hikes and supply chain issues, the study targeted the Commerce Department’s anti-circumvention probe of solar imports from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, which began in March. According to the research, this move exacerbated existing supply chain issues and forced most solar manufacturers to cease shipments to the US.
SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper commended President Joe Biden’s decision to use emergency powers to boost U.S. solar production in a press release announcing Tuesday’s report, saying that without it, “massive project delay and cancellations would have continued throughout 2022,” jeopardizing his administration’s clean energy agenda and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She added that “The solar industry is facing multiple challenges that are slowing America’s clean energy progress, but this week’s action from the Biden administration provides a jolt of certainty businesses need to keep projects moving and create jobs.”