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Utility-Scale Solar Leads Renewables Market According to 3Q 2023 ACP Report

Nov. 30, 2023
Wind farm development slowed down in 3Q 2023.

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) today released the Clean Power Quarterly Market Report: Q3 2023, showing that the industry brought online 5,551 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale clean power capacity in the third quarter of 2023, enough to power 813,000 American homes. Third-quarter installations increased +13% over the same period in 2022 and set a record for the strongest third quarter to date. Across the country, clean energy developers began commercial operations at 88 projects across 24 states.
The U.S. now has over 243 gigawatts (GW) of operating clean power, providing over 16% of U.S. electricity, enough electricity to power an estimated  65 million homes.
ACP said grid-scale battery storage is being installed rapidly, having already exceeded total 2022 installations in just nine months. The industry connected 2,142 MW/6,227 MWh of storage in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date installations to 4,374 MW/13,444 MWh.
Solar installed 3,121 MW in the quarter, outpacing the rate of installations in 2022 but slightly behind 2021 volumes. Just 288 MW of land-based wind capacity were commissioned in the third quarter, a -77% decline year-over-year. Year-to-date installations of solar, wind and storage fell -6% as a slow first quarter and a sharp decrease in third quarter wind capacity additions contributed to the decline in year-to-date installation volumes.

Clean power pipeline: Projects under construction or in advanced development

While the full impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are yet to be determined, the IRA’s effect on the clean energy industry is evidenced by the growth in utility-scale project development pipeline. As of the end of Q3 2023, the project pipeline increased +10% year-over-year to 145,545 MW. There are currently 59,568 MW under construction and 85,977 MW in advanced development. The battery storage pipeline is strongest, having grown by +50% year-over-year, while the solar pipeline increased +8%.
Solar continues to dominate the project pipeline, accounting for 58% of clean power capacity currently under development. Battery storage and land-based wind each represent 15% of the pipeline, with offshore wind making up 12%. In terms of megawatts, solar led the quarter with 3,121 MW of installations, with battery and land-based wind following at 2,142 MW and 288 MW, respectively.