More than 140GW of new PV plant is expected to be added to grids around the world this year, an almost 15% rise on 2019, as the global solar build-out continues its sprawling expansion, according to latest figures IHS Markit.
The forecast 142GW in installations to be added in 2020 would be seven times as large as the total operational fleet a decade ago, the analyst group noted, with growth “substantial in terms of geographic reach as well”, as 43 countries are set to have solar plant capacity greater than 1GW, compared to seven in 2010.
“Another year of double-digit global demand growth in 2020 is proof of the continued and exponential growth of solar PV installations in the last decade,” said IHS Markit clean technology & renewables director Edurne Zoco.
“If the 2010s were the decade of technology innovation, steep cost reductions, large subsidies and dominance by a few markets then 2020 marks the decade of emerging unsubsidized solar, diversification and expansion of solar installation demand across the globe, new corporate entry players and increasing competitiveness versus conventional energy sources.”
Market-leader China will continue to account for an outsized share of new installations into the foreseeable future, according to IHS calculations, but the “over-reliance on China for global solar installation growth will continue to decrease in coming years as more capacity is added elsewhere”.
Solar installations outwith China grew by as much as 53% in 2019, said Zoco, and the top ten sector markets are expected to see their collective share of total build-out fall to 73 %, down from 94% in 2010, as emerging plays in South-east Asia, Latin American and the Middle East rise in prominence.
“China will remain in the preeminent position as the overall leader in solar installations. But this decade will see new markets emerging in South East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East,” he said.
“Still, the major markets will continue to be critical for the development of the solar industry, especially as test beds of technological innovation, policy development and new business models.”
In the US, the world’s second largest solar market, IHS Markit expects i nstallations to grow 20% in 2020, with California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and New York “key drivers” of rising demand over the next five years.
In Europe, where intallations nearly doubled in 2019, the analyst group foresees the trajectory continuing with another 24GW-plus being added – a 5% increase year-on-year – led by construction in Spain, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy and Ukraine, which could account for 63% of the total EU build in the coming year.
In India – where policy uncertainties and the impact of import duties on PV modules combine to slow build-out in 2019 – installations are expected to grow again and surpass 14GW in 2020, spurred by lower module prices and a large, waiting pipeline of projects.
SolarPower Europe’s Global Market Outlook 2019-2023 forecasts the world adding nearly 800GW of capacity by 2023 in a “medium scenario”, bringing cumulated solar capacity to 1.3TW, as solar power has become the lowest-cost power generation source in an increasing number of countries.