Solar panel shipments in the United States break record

U.S. shipments of solar panels, also known as solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, reached a record 16.4 million kilowatts (kW), 2.9 million kW higher than the previous all-time high of 13.5 million kW set in 2016.

In sum, shipments of solar panels include imports, exports, and modules produced and sold domestically, but exclude modules sent for resale.

These shipments have risen steadily since 2006, driven by significant price declines and policy incentives that encourage solar PV installation, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Solar panel shipments declined in 2017 and 2018 as policy reforms and import tariffs went into effect.

The cost of photovoltaic modules has dropped significantly since 2006, helping drive growth in solar panel shipments.

The average value of solar PV module shipments, an approximation of the price, decreased from $ 3.50 per maximum watt in 2006 to $ 0.40 per maximum watt in 2019.

Solar panels

Average values ​​and shipments in terms of peak watts are reported in the EIA Annual PV Shipment Report, reflecting power output under total solar radiation.

Higher module efficiency, higher labor productivity, and lower supply chain costs are largely responsible for the decline in the average value of solar PV modules.

The recent drops in the price of modules and components that began in mid-2016 are related, in part, to the global excess supply resulting from declining demand in China and increased cost competitiveness within the industry .

Because the United States exports few modules, shipments of solar PV modules generally track domestic PV capacity additions; the differences between the two are generally attributed to the time between shipment and installation.

The EIA classifies photovoltaic capacity additions as utility-scale additions, which include installations with a capacity of one megawatt (MW) or more, and small-scale additions, which are primarily residential solar installations.


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