Each quarter, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducts the Quarterly Solar Industry Update, a presentation of technical trends within the solar industry, to the solar office staff. Each presentation focuses on global and U.S. supply and demand, module and system price, investment trends and business models, and updates on U.S. government programs supporting the solar industry.

    Download the latest report: Spring 2022 Quarterly Solar Industry Update

    Key updates from the Spring 2022 Quarterly Solar Industry Update presentation, released April 26, 2022:

    Global Solar Deployment 

    • In 2021, 172 gigawatts direct current (GWdc) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity was added globally, bringing cumulative capacity to 939 GWdc.
    • China, the largest market, installed a record 55 GWdc (309 GWdc cumulative).
    • Analysts project increased annual global PV installations over the next 4 years, with continued growth in China, the United States, Europe, and India.
    • In 2021, approximately 250 megawatts (MW) of concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) was added in China and 110 MW in Chile.
    • An additional 1.7 GW of CSP is currently under construction.

    U.S. PV Deployment 

    • Over 35 gigawatts alternating current (GWac) of new installed capacity was either from renewable energy (18.6 PV, 14.0 GW wind) or battery technologies (3.4 GW) in 2021, surpassing last year’s record. PV alone represented 44% of new U.S. electric generation capacity. 
    • Solar still only represented 8.0% of net summer capacity and 3.9% of annual generation in 2021.
    • However, 11 states generated more than 6% of their electricity from solar, with California leading the way at 25.0%. 
    • The United States installed 18.6 GWac (23.6 GWdc) of PV in 2021, ending the year with 92.5 GWac (119.7 GWdc) of cumulative PV installations. 
    • The United States installed approximately 10.6 gigawatts-hour (GWh), 3.6 GWac of energy storage onto the electric grid in 2021, up 197% year-over-year (y/y). 

    PV System and Component Pricing 

    • The median system price of utility-owned PV plants installed in 2021 was $1.20 per watt-AC (Wac) or $0.97 per watt-DC (Wdc)—down 11% y/y in Wac but up 8% in Wdc. 
    • The median reported price by EnergySage for residential PV systems decreased 2.5% between the second half of 2020 and the second half of 2021 to $2.68/Wdc but increased between first and second half of 2021—the first reported increase on record.

    Global Manufacturing 

    • In 2021, global PV shipments were approximately 194 GW (95% of which were monocrystalline technology)—an increase of 47% from 2020.
    • In 2021, the United States produced a record 4.8 GW of PV modules, up 11% y/y, mostly as a result of a 25% increase in production by First Solar.

    U.S. PV Imports

    • On February 4, 2022, Section 201 tariffs on crystalline silicon modules and cells were extended for another 4 years at just below 15%. Bifacial modules will remain exempt as will be the first 5 GW of imported cells. 
    • On April 1, 2022, based on a petition from Auxin Solar, the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated an investigation into whether Chinese companies are circumventing antidumping and countervailing duties by manufacturing cells and modules in Southeast Asian countries. 
    • 23.6 GW of PV modules and 2.6 GW of PV cells were imported into the United States in 2021, 77% of which came from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia.


    Presentations are available for download in PDF format below.