Although new solar capacity additions continue to break records each year and quarter, this trend is only expected to accelerate. The latest infrastructure bill, aggressive new state decarbonization goals and a growing appetite for corporate renewable purchases will keep pushing solar growth higher. If the Build Back Better passes, it will further incentivize even greater solar adoption.
While big states like California, Texas and Florida get a lot of attention for solar adoption, there are some other states flying under the radar which are expected to see big solar growth. Let’s take a look at which states are gearing up for a solar boom in 2022.
Since 2019, the Prairie State has been experiencing a sharp decline in residential and community solar project development due to the expiration of its Adjustable Block Program incentive.
However, in September 2021, the state passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). One of the most robust climate and jobs acts in the country, CEJA allocates $350 million in financial incentives for the development of renewable energy. CEJA directs the state to pursue a 50% increase in the pace of renewable energy development to reach its target of 40% renewable energy by 2030.
To gauge the impact of this new legislation, DG+Design conducted a Q4 2021 Solar Market Report for Illinois based on the expectations from CEJA. In 2022 alone, CEJA will provide incentives for the installation of 250 MW of community solar projects. By 2030, analysts expect the state to develop 5,800 total MW of rooftop and community solar. These forecasts should make the state home to one of the most competitive markets in the country for solar development.
At the end of 2021, Massachusetts’ Department of Public Utilities’ (DPU) Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program issued an order that doubled its block incentive capacity from 1,600 to 3,200 MW of solar capacity. The DPU originally launched the SMART program in 2018, then expanded it to 3,200 MW in July 2020, but final approval stagnated because of negotiations over tariff rates.
Now, the order will immediately release a bottleneck, allowing more than 175 MW worth of distributed energy solar projects to move forward after 18 months of waiting.
With these SMART incentives in place to fund rooftop and commercial & industrial (C&I) solar projects, the Bay State is primed to reach its clean energy road map to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. But to reach this ambitious goal, the state will have to build 7 GW of new clean, of which the SMART program will deliver 3.2 GW. Currently, only about 3.4 GW of solar is generated in the state, which means there will be plenty of opportunities for solar developers, EPCs and installers.
When most people think of Appalachia, they think coal mines. But this vision is quickly becoming outdated.
Several states up and down the Appalachian Mountains have been hard at work implementing new renewable energy and decarbonization targets, while also repurposing old coal mines for solar installations, with Virgina leading the pack.
Although the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) became law in June 2020, its impact has really ramped up in recent months, with 2022 poised to gain even more momentum. Part of the VCEA requires utility company Appalachian Power to provide its 530,000-some customers in Western Virginia with carbon-free electricity by 2050.
To meet this goal, Appalachian Power is seeking approval to acquire or contract almost 300MW of solar power. The company has already purchased two solar energy projects – a 50MW facility in Berkeley County in West Virginia and a 4.9MW plant in Amherst County in Virginia, with plans to purchase another 150MW solar farm in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
At the same time, six former mining sites in the coalfields of the central Appalachian Mountains in Virginia are the first projects of this sort to move forward nationally. These projects offer a promising model for solar development that does not impinge on farmland or undeveloped tracts of nature.
Achieving Lowest LCOE
Now matter where they're located, every project needs to achieve the lowest LCOE. To ensure these projects deliver value for the residents of these states, it’s imperative that developers and EPCs can achieve the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).
Thankfully, Trina Solar can help. Whether it involves using ultra-high-power 210mm Vertex modules, or leveraging a smart C&I Solutions package to streamline procurement and optimize interconnection, Trina Solar has the technology and innovation you need to reduce LCOE.
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