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Solar news: September 18th, 2020

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, Facebook announces a new net-zero emissions commitment, and a look back at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the solar industry so far this year.

Facebook targets net-zero emissions across entire supply chain by 2030

On Monday, Facebook announced an expansion of its emissions-reductions goals previously set in 2018. Their new targets include reducing Facebook’s own emissions to zero, while completely decarbonizing their entire supply chain. This includes external partners, such as those who build data centers and hardware for the social media giant.

“It’ll be really important for us to spend time — as we’ve been doing — to analyze and understand the carbon footprint of the various sources, and how much is coming from construction, how much is coming from capital goods and services or hardware, how much is coming from airline travel,” said Edward Palmieri, Facebook’s head of sustainability. “We’ve learned a lot about how to measure GHG emissions, and what [we] need to do to move that work into our supply chain.”

Part of Facebook’s plan will be the continued purchasing of carbon offsets. “There will be some amount of carbon that we weren’t able to reduce or eliminate by the time we hit 2030,” said Palmieri. “We’re hoping to drive up efficiency and drive down the carbon as much as possible, first and foremost, so that there’s as little left as possible to eliminate and remove.”

U.S. solar market suffered in Q2, but not as much as initially feared

After the solar market had its largest Q1 ever this year, Q2 was a step back. However, even though residential solar installations dropped 25 percent from Q1 to Q2, analysts at WoodMackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have released revised forecasts that show a decreased dip in the market for the year (6 percent compared to previously forecasted 9 percent).

The market is being held up by a steady stream of utility-scale solar installations being brought online. In Q2, utility-scale projects accounted for 71 percent of total capacity added in the quarter. Analysts expect developers to complete more than 18 gigawatts (GW) of total projects in 2020, a boost up from 13.3 GW in 2019. “The volume of projects that we’ve seen announced in Q1 and Q2 has been pretty high,” said Colin Smith, a WoodMackenzie senior solar analyst. “The development pipeline is the biggest we’ve ever seen.”


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