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Solar news: December 3, 2021

In this week’s news roundup, we are discussing an exciting pilot project for solar in Massachusetts and forecasts for the solar industry going into 2022.

Massachusetts to test solar-powered highway barriers that absorb sound

Ko-Solar and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation recently announced a plan to install solar panels on noise barriers on a half-mile stretch of interstate 95 heading southwards just outside of Boston. The array will produce an expected 800 megawatts (aka 800 million watts) of power each year and be owned by community solar project developer Solect. This is a pilot project designed to test the viability of solar installed on sound barriers as a source of electricity for state buildings. The project will be monitored to ensure that the panels do not damage the sound barriers and also do not decrease their ability to block out highway noise.

Solar power projected to grow to 96% of new power capacity in 2026

A recent analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence predicts that the solar industry will grow substantially to 44 gigawatts (aka 44 billion watts) of installed utility scale solar and 40 gigawatts of non-utility wind and solar in 2022. The report also predicted an installation of eight gigawatts of storage in 2022, which is roughly six times 2020 values. The report pointed towards potential increased incentives from the federal government and companies switching their operations to renewable energy as rationale for these predictions.

In a conflicting report, Rystad Energy predicts a slowdown in installation of planned large scale solar projects due to rising material costs and supply chain constraints. Rystad Energy’s report predicts that these constraints could contribute to the delay or cancellation of 56 percent of global large scale solar projects planned in 2022. These predictions are primarily constricted to large scale projects, as material and shipping costs make up a smaller proportion of the cost of small scale solar projects. If the constraints continue, they could cause a substantial slowdown in utility scale solar capacity in early 2022.

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