Distributed Solar in the U.S.

We look at small-scale solar

Distributed Solar in the U.S.
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash
Reverberations of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) continue throughout the power and energy communities

Opportunities for funding and growth abound in utility-scale and distributed generation, storage manufacturing and advanced technology sub-sectors, among others

Title I, Subtitle D., Part 3, Section 13302 of the IRA provides continued incentives for residential and distributed solar - specifically by extending tax credits for solar and storage system installations through 2032 at 30%

We've supplemented public work the REPEAT Project did on section-by-section summaries of the IRA with our own work to make digging through the legislation more user-friendly

🚨 You can find that analysis here and you are able to save the sheet to your own drive to utilize and/or edit - best on laptop or desktop

To help edify some of our own questions around growth in distributed solar, we dug through some off-the-beaten-path EIA datasets to compare utility-scale solar versus distributed

California Dreaming

The U.S. distributed solar market is dominated by California, which owns a 37% share of small-scale solar generation.

Moving the solar needle in other areas of the country may have seemed like a dream in the past, but the IRA is likely to catalyze capacity growth from coast-to-coast.

We'll try to quantify the impact policy has had on the state-by-state growth of distributed solar in the near-future

Total solar capacity in the U.S. is just over 100,000 MW, split roughly 65% utility-scale and 35% behind-the-meter.

Combined total solar capacity is slightly more than hydro power capacity in the U.S. and approximately 75% of wind capacity.

Growth rates are likely to inflect higher in the short-term

Residential solar capacity factors appear quite low.

Look for upcoming work where we compare residential and utility-scale capacity factors

The average size of residential solar systems in the U.S. continues marching up-and-to-the-right.

Larger systems are partially a function of the opportunity to do more with the power generated, either selling it back to the grid or storing it.

Residential storage capacity is up more than 30x in the last five years.

We've touched on some high level indications for distributed solar in the U.S., but will get more granular on electricity sold back to the grid and virtual supply as we dive further into the datasets.

Stay tuned!