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Record Solar Panel Exports Show We Must Ramp Up Installations

Solar panel manufacturing and exports from China grew 34% in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year, reaching a massive 114 gigawatts, according to a report by Ember. Europe remains the top destination for Chinese solar exports, which grew 47% to 65 gigawatts in H1 2023. Other regions seeing massive shipment growth include Africa, the Middle East, South America, and the United States.

This unprecedented growth in production demonstrates that supply is not the constraint to scaling up solar power globally. As Ember's Sam Hawkins stated, "We have enough solar panels; we just need to get busy installing them." Read on for more information.

Bottlenecks Holding Back Installations
While manufacturing surges ahead, the solar industry faces severe bottlenecks in getting panels installed and connected to electricity grids. In Europe alone, over 40 gigawatts worth of solar panels are sitting in warehouses waiting to be deployed.

In the United States, solar deployment is also being held back by permitting and interconnection delays. Analysis shows the US solar industry could support up to 600,000 jobs by 2030, but bureaucratic obstacles are restricting growth.

Several key factors are responsible for slowing down solar growth:
1/ Bureaucracy and red tape delay project approvals.
2/ Shortage of skilled solar installers
3/ Grid connection delays

Without addressing these issues, solar growth will continue to be hamstrung, despite the glut in equipment supply.

Policy action and investment are needed.
Governments and regulators in Europe, the US, and globally must prioritize reforms and policies that accelerate solar deployments to match the pace of manufacturing expansion. Progress is being made, such as with the EU's recent move to mandate faster approval timelines for renewable energy projects.
But more ambitious grid investments, streamlined permitting, and installer training programs are still needed. The solar industry stands ready to supply the clean energy transformation. Policymakers must pick up the pace on their end to unleash solar's massive potential.

The Future of Solar Deployments
With smart policies and strategic investments in place, solar deployments can rapidly scale up to meet the world's clean energy needs. But action is urgently required to clear the roadblocks. What role do you see for solar in our energy future? How can we connect more of these record-breaking panel shipments to homes and grids?

One solution for commercial building owners is to contact GAIN Renewables at tad@gainrenewables.com to explore installing a rooftop solar system. This allows businesses to generate their own clean electricity and reduce energy costs. Get in touch to evaluate your property's solar potential and discuss financing options to go solar.
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