By Laila Kearney NEW YORK (.) – Solar accounted for 75% of electricity generation capacity added to the U.S. power grid early this year as installations of panels rose to a quarterly record, according to a report published by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association on Thursday. The country’s solar industry saw 11.8 gigawatts of new capacity in the first three months of 2024 as electric utilities continued their rapid additions of the renewable power sources, the report said. U.S. solar has benefited from the increased availability of panels and from federal and state policies aimed at increasing the amount of clean energy on the electric grid to meet climate-driven emissions goals. “Not only has the global solar supply chain expanded, but module imports to the US have also risen significantly over the last year,” according to the report. Supply chain bottlenecks eased and the cost of solar panels fell after Biden placed a two-year moratorium on imported panels believed to be produced with forced labor in China. From June 2023 through March 2024, the U.S. imported 49 GW of solar modules. Domestic solar panel manufacturing capacity, meanwhile, jumped to 26.6 gigawatts for the first three months of the year from 15.6 gigawatts the prior quarter. Florida, followed by Texas, California, and Nevada, installed the most panels, with utility-scale solar making up the majority of the additions. Home solar additions fell 25% year-over-year and
18% quarter-over-quarter, largely on rising interest rates and a slowdown in California’s rooftop solar. The commercial solar sector was roughly flat quarter-over-quarter. The United States is expected to install roughly the same amount of solar capacity this year as 2023, which was a record of nearly 40 Gigawatts of additions, the report said.