Distributed Energy Resources

Delays Slow Clean Energy Installations by 55 Percent in Second Quarter

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Clean energy installations dropped 55 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2021, slowed in part by widespread delays, according to a new report from the trade group American Clean Power.

There were 3,188 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale clean energy capacity installed in the quarter, making it the lowest quarter for clean energy capacity additions since third quarter 2019, according to the Clean Power Quarterly Market Report.

The only technology that saw an increase was energy storage, which rose 13 percent. Solar installations were down 53 percent compared with first-quarter 2021. And onshore wind installations were 78 percent lower in the second quarter compared with the same time period last year, the report said.

“Many projects continue to face supply chain-related challenges,” the report’s authors said. “Availability of solar modules has significantly delayed schedules for projects following the Department of Commerce’s decision to investigate duty circumventions claims,” They added.

In March, the Department of Commerce launched an investigation into whether certain photovoltaic solar cells and modules imported from Southeast Asia are circumventing U.S. tariffs.

Solar power projects comprised 64 percent of delayed projects with land-based wind projects accounting for 23 percent of delayed capacity and storage 13 percent, the report found. And project delays continue to mount, the report said, noting that developers reported 19,286 MW of projects that experienced delays in the second quarter, including 8,116 MW that is now expected online this quarter. Multiple projects, totaling 827 MW, have had more than one delay in their expected online dates, according to the report.

The delays reported in the second quarter were compounded by previous slowdowns, the report found, noting that at the end of 2021, 10,993 MW of clean power capacity experienced delays, of which only 3,850 MW has since come online.

Additionally, in the first quarter of 2022, 7,370 MW of capacity was delayed, of which 551 MW has since come online. In all, since the end of 2021 more than 32,400 MW of capacity has been delayed and has not yet achieved commercial operation, the report found.

Of the 8,166 MW of clean energy capacity expected online in the second quarter but was delayed, 5,782 MW are now expected online by year end with the remaining 2,400 MW of capacity now expected online between 2023 and 2026 or to be delayed indefinitely, the report said.

Looking forward, the capacity of solar power in the clean energy pipeline slowed compared with the first half of 2021, but showed a 5 percent increase over the first quarter, the report found. Solar power projects now account for 57 percent of the pipeline of clean energy capacity in the pipeline, including 22,765 MW under construction and 50,938 MW in advanced development.

Development of land-based wind power, the largest source of operational clean power, has also slowed down, the report found. Between third-quarter 2021 and fourth-quarter 2021 wind capacity in the development pipeline decreased by 7 percent, and between the end of 2021 and first-quarter 2022 the land-based wind pipeline decreased 2 percent, and in the second quarter the wind project pipeline decreased by 1 percent.

Land based wind projects now account for 18 percent, or 23,185 MW, of the clean energy project pipeline with offshore wind projects accounting for an additional 14 percent, or 17,502 MW, of the pipeline.

Energy storage projects also slowed, decreasing by 1 percent in terms of megawatt capacity since the first quarter and down from an 18 percent increase between fourth-quarter 2021 and first-quarter 2022, the report found. At the end of the second quarter there were 14,499 MW (36,200 megawatt hours) of storage capacity in development, according to the report.

In terms of megawatts, 31 percent of battery storage capacity in the pipeline are standalone projects with the remaining 69 percent of projects paired with wind or solar resources, according to the report.

California leads in battery storage development with 5,773 MW, accounting for 41 percent of the total storage pipeline, the report found. Texas ranks second with 2,415 MW, and Nevada third with 1,473 MW.

California also ranked first in terms of overall clean energy development, bringing 825 MW of clean energy online in the second quarter, the report found. Texas was second, installing 618 MW, followed by Florida with 277 MW, and Georgia with 236 MW.

In terms of technology, 1,575 MW of new solar capacity was brought online in the second quarter, bringing 2022 solar installations to 4,558 MW, the report said. Five land-based wind projects came online in the second quarter with a total capacity of 620 MW. Total 2022 wind installations are now 3,485 MW. And battery storage had a record second quarter with 992 MW coming online, bringing year-to-date total to 1,751 MW.