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The U.S. clean energy industry surpassed 100 GW of installed solar capacity in the first quarter of 2024

Posted on May 9, 2024 by Chris Galford

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This year has already seen major milestones for the U.S. clean energy industry, with more than 100 GW of utility-scale solar, 5.6 GW of new clean energy added in the first quarter, and the first offshore wind project in federal waters now delivering power to the grid .

In its Q1 2024 Clean Power Quarterly Market Report, the US Clean Power Association (ACP) revealed significant growth, including a 28% year-over-year increase in energy utilization. These additions were enough to power 1 million homes on their own with clean energy.

It was a good year for both solar and wind projects. While the former achieved a record result, the wind energy sector also saw the first large, successful entry into the offshore wind market from federal waters, which increased grid capacity by 132 MW. All of this also pointed to a remarkable increase in pace, considering that in the U.S. it took 18 years to build the first 50 GW of solar capacity, but it took just four years to double that capacity.

“The first quarter of 2024 set the pace for the year, highlighting both an industry that continues to break barriers and the growing demand for clean energy solutions,” John Hensley, ACP vice president of markets and policy analysis. “Exceeding the 100 GW solar threshold, the launch of groundbreaking projects like South Fork Wind, and the record pace of new clean energy contracts are clear indicators of society’s demand to strengthen the grid with national, reliable and affordable clean energy.”

Notably, nearly 40 percent of new solar installations this quarter were built in Florida. South Fork Wind was built off the coast of New York.

In addition to new installments, ACP also saw an increase in power purchase agreements (PPAs) as utilities and corporate buyers sought renewable options. More than 7,700 MW of new contracts were announced, an increase of 52%. compared to the first quarter of 2023.

Battery storage is also growing, at an average of 11 percent per quarter, although it has remained flat compared to the same period in 2023. However, even here, ACP expressed hope as the planned capacity of these projects has increased to 31.6 in the near future G.W. -deadline. This represents an increase of 61 percent year-on-year.