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: Winter 2023 Quarterly Solar Industry Update

    Key updates from the Winter 2023 Quarterly Solar Industry Update presentation, released January 26, 2023: 

    Global Solar Deployment

    • China’s National Energy Administration revealed in late January that China installed 87 gigawatts (GW) in 2022, up 59% year-over-year (y/y).
      • In the first 9 months of 2022, solar photovoltaic (PV) installations increased significantly y/y in China (106%) and India (51%), and to a lesser extent in Germany (22%).

    U.S. PV Deployment

    • The California Public Utilities Commission approved revised net metering rules in December 2022—becoming effective in April 2023—with exported solar energy eventually being compensated at rates ~75% lower than retail. Unlike the previous proposal, there are no fixed charges and there is a transition period.
    • The United States installed 11.2 gigawatts-AC (GWac) [13.4 gigawatts-DC (GWdc)] of PV in the first three quarters of 2022—down 9% from the first three quarters of 2021.
    • The United States installed approximately 11.1 gigawatt-hours (GWh) (3.7 GWac) of energy storage onto the electric grid in Q1-Q3 2022, +88% (+90%) y/y, as a result of high levels of residential deployment and grid-scale deployment.

    PV System and Component Pricing

    • From the second half (H2) of 2021 to H2 2022 (partial), the median reported distributed PV system price in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New York increased 4% to $4.25/watts-DC (Wdc) for systems 2.5 to 10 kilowatts (kW) but decreased 3% to $1.77/Wdc for systems 500 kW to 5 megawatts (MW).
    • Polysilicon global spot prices began Q4 2022 around $37/kilogram (kg) but dropped 40% (to $22/kg) by mid-January, the lowest price in 1.5 years.
    • Global wafer and cell prices dropped by 40%–50% during this period.
    • Global module prices fell only around 10% as demand from Europe decreased but Chinese demand remained relatively strong.
    • In Q3 2022, the average U.S. module price ($0.43/Wdc) was up 14% quarter-over-quarter (q/q) and up 30% y/y, trading at a 63% premium over the global spot price for monofacial monocrystalline silicon modules.


    Global Manufacturing

    • In the first half (H1) of 2022, U.S. crystalline silicon (c-Si) module production was at approximately the same level as in H1 2019, and thin-film [(i.e., cadmium telluride (CdTe)] production had grown by 3 times (and increased 31%, y/y).
    • Since the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA’s) passage, over 85 GWdc of manufacturing capacity has been announced across the solar supply chain, including 19 separate new manufacturing plants.
    • In December 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary decision to impose anti-circumvention duties on some solar panels and cells produced in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia. A final determination is due May 1, 2023.
    • Several leading global PV companies announced expansion of corporate production capacity to 50 GW or greater by 2023.

    U.S. PV Imports

    • 18.3 GWdc of PV modules were imported into the United States in the first 9 months of 2022, down 2% y/y. 
    • 1.8 GWdc of cells were imported in the first 9 months of 2022, down 18% y/y.


    Presentations are available for download in PDF format below.