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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for May 2022 Release Date: July 26, 2022 Next Release Date: August 24, 2022

Highlights: May 2022

  • Wholesale electricity prices set new 12-month high daily prices in the Mid-Atlantic (PJM), Midwest (MISO) and in Louisiana (into Entergy).

  • Electricity system daily peak demand rose sharply from April to May in all regions except California and the Northwest.

  • For the second consecutive month, both retail sales of electricity and total average revenues rose year over year in all four end use sectors.

Key indicators

Solar photovoltaic module shipments reach record high in 2021

Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-63B, Photovoltaic Module Shipments Report; Form EIA-860, Annual Electric Generator Report; Form EIA-860M, Monthly Update to Annual Electric Generator Report; Form EIA-861, Annual Electric Power Industry Report; and Form EIA-861M, Monthly Electric Power Industry Report.
Note: Data for 2021 are preliminary. Data on small-scale solar additions start in 2015.

U.S shipments of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, based on preliminary 2021 data, increased by 21% to a record 26.3 million peak kilowatts (peak kW) in 2021 from 21.8 million peak kW in 2020. During the past decade, solar PV module shipments steadily increased, with significant year-over-year increases in 2015 (59%) and 2016 (35%). The general upward trend was interrupted in 2017 and 2018, however, when solar PV module shipments fell by 19% and 27%, respectively. In general, solar PV module shipments closely track utility-scale and small-scale PV capacity additions.

The increased growth in both utility–scale and small-scale solar markets drove the increase in solar module shipments in 2021.

Utility-scale: The United States added 13.2 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale capacity, a record high and 25% more than 2020 capacity additions (10.6 GW). In 2021, utility-scale capacity additions rose sharply despite project delays, project postponements, supply-chain constraints, and volatile pricing (Wood Mackenzie/SEIA).

Small-scale: Small-scale solar capacity installations increased by 5.4 GW in 2021, up 23% from 2020 installations (4.4 GW). Most of the growth in the small-scale solar came from capacity additions in the residential sector; these installations grew at a record-level of 32%, totaling more than 3.9 GW, compared with 2.9 GW in 2020. Growth in the community solar market also appears to be contributing to the demand for solar PV modules, although this information is not part of EIA’s survey collection. Community solar U.S. installations rose 43% in 2021 compared with 2020 levels, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Nearly 80% of the growth in community solar installations occurred in five states: Florida, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas.

Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-63B, Photovoltaic Module Shipments Report.
Note: Data for 2021 are preliminary.

PV module cost reductions continued in 2021. The average value of solar PV module shipments (a surrogate for price) has decreased from $1.15 per peak kW in 2012 to $0.34 per peak kW in 2021. The value of solar PV shipments has decreased 70% during the past nine years; in particular, it decreased year over year by 11% from $0.38 in 2020 to $0.34 in 2021. The average value of solar PV modules may have decreased in 2021 because of low demand for modules in China, which outweighed the high demand from other markets such as the European Union, India, and the United States (NREL).

Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-63B, Photovoltaic Module Shipments Report.
Note: Data for 2021 are preliminary. State data collected from monthly respondents only.

In 2021, the top five destinations for PV shipments were California (5.09 million peak kW), Texas (4.31 million peak kW), Florida (1.21 million peak kW), Illinois (1.12 million peak kW), and Georgia (1.02 million peak kW). The top five states accounted for 48% of total shipments.