ENERGY STORAGE

Why most new US electricity generating capacity will be solar & storage

The US will add 62.8GW of electricity generating capacity in 2024, most of which will be solar and battery storage – battery storage capacity in the US will almost double, with California and Texas accounting for the lion’s share

BEN COOK

March 7, 2024

  • US will add 62.8GW of electricity generating capacity in 2024, the vast majority of which will be solar and battery storage
  • Projections indicate that the amount of battery storage capacity in the US will almost double to nearly 30GW
  • California and Texas will account for 82% of new US battery capacity this year

Solar and battery storage will constitute 81 per cent of new electricity generating capacity in the US in 2024, according to US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

The data showed that power plant owners expect to add 62.8 GW of capacity in 2024. This would represent a 55 per cent increase on the amount of capacity added in 2023 when 40.4GW was installed.

Solar will contribute 58 per cent of new capacity in 2024, with 36.4GW added, while battery storage will account for 23 per cent of new capacity, contributing a total of 14.3GW. Wind will account for 13 per cent of new capacity, adding 8.2GW.

The anticipated 2024 solar capacity additions would amount to almost a doubling of the solar additions made last year when 18.4GW was added. Meanwhile, if the forecast increase in battery storage capacity for this year proves to be accurate, it would result in almost a doubling of US battery storage capacity, which currently stands at 15.5GW.

The vast majority of new US battery storage capacity added in 2024 will be located in Texas (which is expected to add 6.4GW) and California (which is forecast to make additions totalling 5.2GW). The two states will account for 82 per cent of new capacity added in 2024.

With regard to solar, the EIA has forecast that more than half of new utility-scale capacity will be in three states: Texas (35 per cent), California (10 per cent), and Florida (6 per cent).

As the EIA highlighted, with the rise of solar and wind capacity in the US, “demand for battery storage continues to increase”. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has also accelerated development of energy storage through the introduction of investment tax credits (ITCs) for standalone storage – before the IRA came into force, batteries only qualified for federal tax credits if they were co-located with solar.

Last year was a momentous one for the US solar industry, with 2023 being the first year that solar accounted for more than 50 per cent of new electricity capacity added to the grid. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), total U.S. solar capacity is expected to grow to 673 GW by 2034, enough to power more than 100 million homes.

“If we stay the course with our federal clean energy policies, total solar deployment will quadruple over the next ten years,” SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said this week. “The Inflation Reduction Act is supercharging solar deployment and having a material impact on our economy, helping America’s solar module manufacturing base grow 89 per cent in 2023 – we must protect and optimise the policies that are driving these investments and creating jobs, and the stakes in the upcoming election couldn’t be higher.”

Solar module manufacturing capacity grew from 8.5 GW to 16.1 GW in 2023, the SEIA said. However, the association warned that “record-low prices for modules and a tough economic environment could make it difficult for US manufacturers to follow through on announced facilities”. In 2023, prices for monofacial and bifacial solar modules fell 26 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively, the SEIA said in a statement. “The United States currently does not have any ingot, wafer, or cell manufacturing facilities in operation, representing an opportunity for growth,” it added.