NREL recently published its quarterly solar industry update providing insights into the key trends of 2020, top performing solar power states in the US, tariff updates worldwide, policy and regulatory scenario, technology development, key financings, and future outlook. Following are the key highlights from the update:
• China, US, India, Australia, and Germany collectively installed 24 GW of PV in the first half of 2020, approximately the same level as in 2019.
• Tonopah Solar, the owner of the first large-scale (110 MW) solar tower with molten-salt storage, declared bankruptcy in July 2020, having not operated since April 2019.
• Ten states generated more than 5% of their electricity from solar, with California leading the way at 21.7%.
• Despite possible effects of COVID-19, the United States installed 7.2 GWDC of PV in H1 2020, its largest H1 total ever—up 48% y/y.
• The United States installed approximately 208 MWh (98 MW) of energy storage onto the electric grid in Q1 2020—down 34% y/y.
• In July 2020, Sunrun agreed to purchase Vivint for $3.2B (in an all stock swap transaction).
• Despite tariffs, PV modules and cells are being imported into the United States at historically high levels, with 14.2 GW of PV modules and 1.3 GW of PV cells in H1 2020.
• First Solar’s 1.9-GW thin-film plant was also operating at a relatively high utilization rate.
• Since late 2019, a growing amount of PV imports into the United States are coming from China, despite continued tariffs.
• Global module and module-component prices continued their declines through June; however, supply disruptions in the polysilicon industry caused PV modules and components to increase in price in July and August 2020. Even with the supply-chain price increases, BNEF reported global mono c-Si module pricing below $0.20/W and multi cSi module pricing below $0.17/W.
• In Q4 2019, U.S. mono c-Si module prices fell, dropping close to their lowest recorded level, but they were still trading at a 71% premium over global module average selling price.
• Although solar stock gains made at the beginning of 2020 were erased with the downturn in the market in March, they have significantly outperformed the rest of the market since.
• Analysts attribute these gains to good financial performance from companies, driven by stronger than expected global demand, despite the pandemic.
Check out the full detailed presentation on the solar industry update by NREL below: