US Doubling Solar Energy Production by 2029 Will Not Be Enough

There is massive growth in the utility-scale US solar market . It is driving record solar deployment figures as the segment added nearly 10 GW of new capacity in Q1. Florida and Texas saw strong utility-scale growth and led all states for new solar capacity in Q1. Total U.S. solar capacity is expected to double over the next five years, growing to 438 GW by 2029.

China’s solar power generation projections should reach 610.5 million kW in 2024 and an impressive 754.1 million kW in 2025. China is adding about 35 GW per quarter. In 2022, China installed roughly as much solar photovoltaic capacity as the rest of the world combined, then went on in 2023 to double new solar installations. Today, China has more than 80 percent of the world’s solar manufacturing capacity.

November 2023, Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and U.S. climate envoy John Kerry agreed on a pledge to triple renewable energy globally by 2030. This was before it was realized how AI data center energy demand could increase energy needs by 20% by 2030 and perhaps double energy needs by 2040. US doubling solar capacity by 2029 would not be keeping pace with global solar energy growth.

There are new tariffs that increase the cost of solar cells and modules imported into the US from China and other places up to 300% in some cases.

The Inflation Reduction Ac has a series of tax credits designed to bolster domestic manufacturers.

For solar modules, the credits are as follows:

Solar cells: 4 cents per direct current watt of capacity
Solar wafers: $12 per square meter
Solar grade polysilicon: $3 per kilogram
Polymeric backsheet: 40 cents per square meter
Solar modules: 7 cents per direct current watt of capacity

For inverters, the credit varies depending on the type and is applied per watt of alternating current:

Central inverter: 0.25 cents
Utility inverter: 1.5 cents
Commercial inverters: 2 cents
Residential inverters: 6.5 cents
Microinverters: 11 cents

Additionally, torque tubes for racking will receive a credit of $0.87 per kilogram, and structural fasteners will receive $2.28 per kilogram.

7 thoughts on “US Doubling Solar Energy Production by 2029 Will Not Be Enough”

  1. Texas has grown its electrical generation and grid by 50% over 10 years. Tons of the generation is done by wind and solar. People who say it is impossible to grow the grid quickly are not paying attention.

    The technologies being unlocked to STORE ENERGY from wind, solar, geothermal, etc. are amazing.

    There are people on here who always say it can’t be done!

    (1) “You can’t make battery electric cars and make a profit.” Tesla makes billions of dollars of profit a year – even after using up all their tax credits in 2020. (New tax credits are available via the IRA, but those credits didn’t kick in until late 2023). And by-the-way: Tesla doesn’t use any tax breaks that aren’t available to Ford, GM, etc.

    (2) “You can’t make reusable rockets.” SpaceX is laughing at you.

    (3) “You can’t have high-speed internet services without a massive build-out of cell towers or fiber.” Starlink laughs at you.

    (4) “You can’t generate electricity fast enough to keep up.” Texas laughs at you. (ERCOT notwithstanding. Texas has plenty of generating capacity, but ERCOT politics haven’t allowed grid hardening like it should. This next legislative session should remedy that.

    Battery storage is growing exponentially. I just hope the US doesn’t completely cede the technology to the Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese. Thank God for Elon Musk.

    People are woefully uninformed about energy storage and its growth…

    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=61202#:~:text=U.S.%20battery%20storage%20capacity%20has,their%20intended%20commercial%20operation%20dates

    Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, based on Form EIA-860M

    Battery storage projects are getting larger in the United States. The battery storage facility owned by Vistra and located at Moss Landing in California is currently the largest in operation in the country, with 750 megawatts (MW).

    Developers expect to bring more than 300 utility-scale battery storage projects on line in the United States by 2025, and around 50% of the planned capacity installations will be in Texas. The five largest new U.S. battery storage projects that are scheduled to be deployed in California and Texas in 2024 or 2025 are:

    Lunis Creek BESS SLF (Texas, 621 MW)
    Clear Fork Creek BESS SLF (Texas, 600 MW)
    Hecate Energy Ramsey Storage (Texas, 500 MW)
    Bellefield Solar and Energy Storage Farm (California, 500 MW)
    Dogwood Creek Solar and BESS (Texas, 443 MW)

    Not only will solar+wind+grid storage be cheaper in cost than natural gas, but Texas will lead the way. All without mandates from the state government.

    • Isn’t it amazing how quickly battery storage can be built and brought on-line? The rather small plant two blocks from my lab went in under six months…during all the Covid work restrictions. It’s enough to power the town of 25,000 people for 32 hours, all of it sitting on a small useless, unused plot of dirt. Just imagine how much faster they can go in without any restrictions.

  2. Enough to do, what? Solve energy shortages? (Certainly not!) Destabilize the grid? (Quite possibly.)

    You really need to clarify what it won’t be enough to do.

    • [ maybe about something like that:
      1 Superheavy&Starship launch every day a year, on ~50% supply chain efficiency (renewable methane or fossil?) is about 10TWh (what is comparable to electricity consumption on all electrified public transport within the US or ~1/400th of all (grid?) supplied electricity, 2022 ~4000TWh, almost stable consumption since about 10-15yrs)
      10 or even 100 launches a day is a share of 1/40-1/4 of all electricity consumed for one year (what’s about 1/250-1/25 of all US primary energy consumption for a year).
      Solar electricity can be cheap (1 launch per day a year ~$250M, 10-100 ~$2.5-25B value (possibly double of that including all efficiency loss) of electricity for hydrogen/methane, on ~$ct2.5/kWh).

      Computing, refrigeration, space cooling, lighting are on a more or less ~10% level. Electricity consumption is told for to increase on ~1% rate from a 2022-2050s. (Depending on development of electrolysis equipment and (public) grid transfer of that electricity or resulting hydrogen, maybe higher increase?)

      and btw. commercial electricity supply started ~1879 (~150yrs ago) in San Francisco for 21 light bulbs
      https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/use-of-electricity.php ‘ ]

      • [ “Computing, refrigeration, space cooling, lighting are on a more or less ~10% level.” (each)
        just recognized the diagram (www.eia.gov) for residental electricity usage (vs. commercial supply); there is quite some difference for previously mentioned ~sectors
        (thx) ]

    • Your right about the fragility of our electrical grid, but it’s good that President Bidens infrastructure bill spends 100+billions$ to “reinvent” our grid. (And water, sewer, roads, rail systems, airports, etc.) Perhaps now, our infrastructure will join the rest of us in the 21st century. But even the most optimistic development projections say it would take at least a decade (IMO, that’s very optimistic) But at least, the balls rolling.

      But “solar build out” is essential. Be it solar farms, or cells on individual buildings. (The former are logistically simpler, the latter is IMO more practical, if more “messy”) The expotential increase in solar cell production IS going to happen. Add new materials, like flexible (built into say fabric), and transparent cells (useful for windows), we’re going to be up to our giblets in solar cells. And transparent solar cells? You could look through them, and not know “their there”. There’s a plus, Regardless of their physical-chemistry, all solar cells harvest energy from the near UV, and UV spectrum of light. That frequency of light, makes your furniture and carpets fade.

      If embedded within your windows, this wouldn’t happen. (This is in the category of stuff you’ll never notice, because we usually don’t notice something unless it’s broken, or really faded) Solar cells, of all types will be MUCH cheaper soon, due to new manufacturing technology. I hope our electric grid will keep up.

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