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Report: Supply chain challenges boosted cost of solar energy in 2021

Report: Supply chain challenges boosted cost of solar energy in 2021
Keith Plume of PayneCrest Electric Company checks that solar panels are lined up correctly at the Ameren O’Fallon Renewable Energy Center in O’Fallon, Missouri. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

March 10 (UPI) — The cost of solar energy increased over the past year because of “unprecedented supply chain challenges,” a report released Thursday found.

Solar prices increased up to 18% “due to unprecedented supply chain challenges, trade actions and legislative uncertainty,” according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2021 Year in Review report, which Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie released Thursday.

A third of all utility-scale solar capacity slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2021 was delayed by at least a quarter and 13% of capacity slated for completion in 2022 was delayed by a year or more due to these issues, the report found.

The supply chain problem in 2021 reversed solar price declines in previous years that had driven solar adoption and led to prices rising for the first year across all three markets, residential, commercial and utility scale, which Wood Mackenzie has tracked since 2014.

SEIA has previously said in a statement that lawmakers could help by passing the Build Back Better Act, which includes a 10-year extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit.

The SEIA noted that if the bill were to become law it would triple the amount of solar capacity currently installed in the United States, double the size of the solar workforce, and offset an additional 400 million metric tons of carbon by 2030 to combat climate change.

Recently, amid analysts noting that the Russia-Ukraine war has driven up natural gas prices worldwide, solar energy has been touted as way to reduce dependence on “hostile nations.”

“In the face of global supply uncertainty, we must ramp up clean energy production and eliminate our reliance on hostile nations for our energy needs,” SEIA CEO and President Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement Thursday. “Policymakers have the answer right in front of them: if we pass a long-term extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit and invest in U.S. manufacturing, solar installations will increase by 66% over the next decade, and our nation will be safer because of it. America’s energy independence relies on our ability to deploy solar, and the opportunity before us has never been more obvious or urgent.”

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