Wood Mackenzie’s Global Solar Forecast For 2023

Expect ‘Nearly’ 270 GW DC New Solar Installations This Year, Growing To 330 GW DC By 2032
The 270 GW DC solar energy installation forecast of Wood Mackenzie for 2023 is much lower in comparison to the numbers predicted by other market analysts. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)
The 270 GW DC solar energy installation forecast of Wood Mackenzie for 2023 is much lower in comparison to the numbers predicted by other market analysts. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)
  • Wood Mackenzie forecasts global solar PV installations in 2023 to grow up to 270 GW DC with a 33% annual increase 
  • China is expected to lead, while the US will expand to around 28 GW this year with a healthy pipeline  
  • Romania has emerged as the top distributed generation market and is expected to report 6.5 GW DC cumulative installed distributed PV capacity by 2027
  • Between 2023 and 2032, the world will add over 530 GW DC new PV capacity 
  • Wood Mackenzie's numbers are much more conservative than from other market analysts

Ambitious renewable energy targets, increased electrification, expanding policy support and falling levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for solar are among reasons Wood Mackenzie cites to predict 33% annual growth for solar installations increasing to around 270 GW DC in 2023, rising up to 330 GW DC annually by 2032. 

However, the guidance for 2023 seems quite conservative considering much higher forecasts by other leading international market analysts.  

SolarPower Europe (SPE), for instance, pegs 2023 solar PV additions to grow to 341 GW under its medium scenario, TrendForce of Taiwan expects the same to grow to 351 GW. China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) believes it would be 350 GW, with China contributing 120 GW to 140 GW. BloombergNEF has guided for annual installations to go up to 390 GW this year, according to Gerard Reid of Alexa Capital who shared the numbers on his Twitter account.

<em>Wood Mackenzie sees solar PV installations in 2023 and beyond to grow 5% annually on an average. (Photo Credit: Wood Mackenzie)</em>
Wood Mackenzie sees solar PV installations in 2023 and beyond to grow 5% annually on an average. (Photo Credit: Wood Mackenzie)

Wood Mackenzie makes these assertions in its Global solar PV market outlook update wherein it predicts China to continue to lead solar installations this year as well. The country is seeing a spurt in deployments thanks to falling prices of polysilicon to rapidly expand utility-scale solar plants, despite curtailment risks.   

Having installed 20.2 GW DC new PV capacity in 2022, the US market is expected to exit this year with 39% more solar, which means around 28 GW. A healthy development pipeline and continued supply chain relief as importers make progress on Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) compliance are Wood Mackenzie's reasons for this guidance.   

For the European market with utility electricity rates declining faster than expected, analysts see the growth of solar 'much more muted' this year.  

Nonetheless, the UK saw best results for quarterly residential PV installations in last 7 years in Q1/2023, due mainly to the contract backlog from 2022. The country may end up growing its residential PV capacity by at least 60% in 2023, as Wood Mackenzie's Principal Analyst for Distributed Solar Juan Monge shared with TaiyangNews during our Webinar Solar Market Overview 2023 (see TaiyangNews Solar Market Overview 2023 Webinar).  

Wood Mackenzie points to Romania as having developed into a 'top' distributed PV emerging market in Europe, expecting it to report 6.5 GW DC cumulative installed distributed PV capacity by 2027. This year, a €610 million subsidy program is expected to help installations for 150,000 homes in the country with a 112% annual growth.  

Beyond 2023, Wood Mackenzie expects annual solar growth to be subdued with only 1% increase in 2024, 5% in 2025, and a 1% drop thereafter in 2026. Between 2023 and 2032, analysts forecast over 530 GW DC of new solar PV capacity to be installed, reaching nearly 800 GW DC cumulatively.  

This compares to a much more optimistic view of SPE's Global Market Outlook 2023, which forecasts 17% growth for 2024, 15% in 2025, and 15% in 2026. SPE believes that global annual additions could be as high as 800 GW DC in 2027 alone in its high scenario, and 617 GW DC in its medium scenario. 

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