More solar panels were manufactured in the United States in the first quarter of 2024 than during the entire year of 2018, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Assn.

Manufacturing capacity increased 71% compared with the last quarter of 2023.

What You Need To Know

  • U.S. solar panel manufacturing increased 71% in the first quarter of 2024 compared with the last quarter of 2023

  • Solar installations also increased

  • Florida and Texas led all states in new solar capacity in the first quarter

  • The U.S. currently makes about 2% of the world's solar panels

“This quarter proves that new federal investments in clean energy are revitalizing American manufacturing and strengthening our nation’s energy economy,” SEIA President Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement. “Whether it’s a billion-dollar investment in a nearby solar project or a new manufacturing plant employing hundreds of local workers, the solar and storage industry is uplifting communities in every state across this country.”

The news comes about a month after the group said the United States had exceeded 5 million solar installations this year, with more than half of all installations taking place since 2020.

The solar power generation milestone was achieved with installations on businesses, homes and large, ground-mounted arrays throughout the country. On Thursday, the SEIA said the growth in solar deployment in the first quarter was largely driven by power utilities, with Florida and Texas leading the states in new solar capacity. New Mexico and Ohio also saw substantial growth in the first quarter.  

About 7% of American homes have solar — a number that’s expected to more than double by 2030, according to the SEIA. The Inflation Reduction Act provides homeowners with a 30% tax credit on their solar installations through 2032.

The Biden administration has set a goal of 80% renewable energy generation by 2030, and 100% renewables by 2035. In April, the Department of the Interior said it had permitted more than 29 gigawatts of renewable energy — enough to power more than 12 million homes — exceeding the president’s goal of 25 gigawatts by 2025.

The dramatic increase in solar panel manufacturing in the U.S. comes as the United States enacted a new tariff of 25 to 50% on solar cells manufactured in China.

“The tariff increase will protect against China’s policy-driven overcapacity that depresses prices and inhibits the development of solar capacity outside of China,” according to a White House fact sheet issued in May.

China currently makes about 78% of the world’s solar panels, while the United States makes about 2%.