The world will add nearly 800GW of solar 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, SolarPower Europe said.

In its Global Market Outlook 2019-2023, Europe’s solar trade body also says 102.4GW of fresh solar power was grid-connected last year, 4% more than in 2017, despite a contraction in the important Chinese market.

Solar additions also shrank in India and Japan and stagnated in the US. But the emergence of new solar markets compensated for slower growth in the tier 1 group.

“2018 was a unique year for the entire global solar industry, as we exceeded the magic installation mark of 100GW per year for the first time, which led the solar power sector to grow to over 500GW or 0.5TW,” SolarPower Europe president Christian Westermeier said.

“Last year, we again saw strong cost improvements with solar becoming the lowest-cost power generation source in more and more regions.

“At the same time, new applications have quickly progressed, such as floating solar, while corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements have reached a double-digit GW-level, and a market for merchant solar has emerged in several countries.”

Europe last year saw a 21%-increase in solar additions to 11.3GW as countries rushed to install renewable generation capacity to meet EU 2020 targets.

SolarPower Europe in its medium scenario sees demand surge by over 80% in Europe to 20.4GW this year, and by another 18% to 24.1GW in 2020.

“In Europe, we have entered a new era of solar growth and with the recently concluded Clean Energy Package, we have a new framework for solar that will see our technology thrive even more in the coming years,” said SolarPower Europe chief executive Walburga Hemetsberger.

“We now look to EU member states to put ambitious solar targets in place and ensure robust implementation guidelines in their 2030 National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs).”

Globally, the trade groups expects 128GW of new PV capacity to be installed in 2019, 25% more than last year.

SolarPower Europe points to figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), saying that more than 400GW of renewables have to be installed each year on average until 2050 to keep the global temperature rise below 2° Celsius. In 2018, only around 180GW or renewable capacity were installed.