Chart: Clean energy installations slowed way down in Q3

On the bright side, energy storage had its best quarter ever, and analysts expect solar and wind to bounce back soon thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.
By Maria Virginia Olano

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A solar and wind installation in a hilly region under a blue sky with large fluffy white clouds
(Irfan Khan/Getty Images)

Canary Media’s chart of the week translates crucial data about the clean energy transition into a visual format.

The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act with its unprecedented funding for clean energy will make 2022 a landmark year for the clean energy industry. But in terms of newly installed capacity in the U.S., the industry just had its slowest quarter in three years, according to the latest quarterly market report from trade group American Clean Power. A total of 14.2 gigawatts of clean power capacity were installed during the first three quarters of this year, down 18 percent compared to the same period last year.

Clean power installations during the third quarter of 2022 were down 22 percent compared to the third quarter of last year. Solar installations fell by 23 percent and wind installations by 78 percent. Only storage saw growth in Q3 2022 compared to Q3 2021. In fact, storage is on track to have its best year ever, already having added 3 GW this year, close to the 3.2 GW it added during all of 2021. The slow quarter for clean energy comes after a slow first half of the year.

Clean energy projects have been delayed this year by supply-chain problems, trade and tariff issues, transmission constraints, and, before the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, uncertainty over tax policy, American Clean Power reports. The solar industry in particular has taken a hit as it’s had trouble sourcing solar panels, both due to the Auxin trade case earlier this year and then detentions of shipments caused by the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The backlog of delayed clean energy projects now totals 36 GW of capacity, 63 percent of which are solar projects, according to ACP.

But the outlook going forward is positive, thanks in large part to the Inflation Reduction Act. ACP anticipates that the IRA will give industry the tools it needs to more than triple annual installations of wind, solar, and battery storage by the end of the decade. We expect the IRA to deliver 550 GW of new capacity by 2030, representing $600 billion in capital investment and growing the clean power workforce to nearly a million strong by 2030,” said J.C. Sandberg, interim CEO and chief advocacy officer at American Clean Power.

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Maria Virginia Olano is editorial producer at Canary Media.