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Chart: How much will solar and wind grow under the new climate law?

The Inflation Reduction Act is expected to drive up installations of onshore wind and utility-scale solar — a boon after a particularly rocky six months for renewables in the U.S.
By Maria Virginia Olano

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

The Inflation Reduction Act is expected to spur installation of 155 gigawatts of additional solar and wind energy capacity in the U.S. by 2030, according to analysis by research firm Rystad Energy. That is a 35% boost for utility-scale solar PV compared to baseline growth projections, as well as a 50% boost for onshore wind. 

Two charts comparing the boost in capacity expansions solar and offshore wind under the Inflation Reduction Act

Before the signing of the new climate law, the U.S. was on track to have cumulative totals of nearly 200 GW of utility-scale solar and 193 GW of onshore wind installed by 2030. Now, with the expansion of renewable energy tax credits under the law, those 2030 totals are expected to be 270 GW and 278 GW, respectively. Rystad Energy projects that the new law will attract more than $270 billion in additional investments in solar and wind as a result of the expanded tax credits. Importantly, the law has a 10-year horizon, providing long-term certainty to industries that can benefit from those tax credits.

Utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. at the beginning of this year stood at about 71 GW, so the expected increase to 270 GW would mean a near-quadrupling of capacity by the end of the decade. Onshore wind capacity at the start of the year was about 142 GW, so a jump to 278 GW would result in cumulative capacity nearly doubling by 2030. Installations of both solar and wind projects declined in the first half of this year, so the new law is providing a surge of momentum for the industry at a critical moment.

The law’s tax credits also apply to other renewable and low-carbon energy sources, including offshore wind. But because of the limited supply of wind turbine installation vessels,” the tax credits are unlikely to encourage significant capacity growth beyond existing forecasts until the 2030s” for offshore wind, Rystad says.

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Maria Virginia Olano is editorial producer at Canary Media.