Rethink Energy Expects 222 GW Global Solar Installations In 2022

Rethink Energy Counts 330 GW Solar PV Modules Manufactured In 2022, Yet Pegs 222 GW As Installed; China To Deploy 42 GW In Q4/2022 & Exit Year With 94 GW

Rethink Energy Expects 222 GW Global Solar Installations In 2022

  • Global solar installations are likely to settle around 222 GW in 2022, according to Rethink Research
  • China is expected to install 42 GW in Q4/2022, leading to an annual total of 94 GW
  • US continues to battle trade barriers while East Asian nations of Taiwan, Japan and South Korea struggle with land availability
  • Europe continues to depend on China for modules having got over 74 GW in 10M/2022, and it may increase to 85 GW by 2022-end
  • For 2023, analysts expect over 280 GW new solar installations which should use better part of 330 GW modules produced in 2022

Globally, 330 GW worth of solar PV modules—comprising 320 GW silicon PV and 10 GW CdTe and CIGS—were produced in 2022, but not all of it was used for installations this year that Rethink Energy thinks should add up to 222 GW with a 35% YoY growth, meaning the better part of this capacity can be utilized in 2023.

Throw in the supply chain challenges to be cautious and still expect 27% annual growth for 2023 numbers at 280 GW, according to Rethink Energy’s Solar installs erupt as Polysilicon price peaks.

According to the analysts, polysilicon supply remains tight at present. It can start to loosen from 2023-start.

With the addition of 54 GW new solar deployments in Q3/2022 up 37.8% YoY, global PV installations for 9M/2022 came to 142.5 GW, led firmly by China as it contributed 52.08 GW. As China starts to bring its desert base projects online, some of them this year itself, Rethink analysts peg Q4/2022 installations for the country to swell to an ‘unprecedented’ 42 GW. It would mean China will account for 94 GW or 42% of new global installed capacity in 2022.

“China will soon be installing 200 GW combined wind and solar each year and will install more like 2,000 new GW, not 1,200 GW,” reads the report.

The world’s 2nd largest solar market, the US witnessed a drop of 1.50% annually with 15.4 GW installed in 9M/2022 comprising 43.2% rooftop PV. Rethink attributes the anti-circumvention probe and withhold release order (WRO) for this decline.

“Both imports and the reshoring efforts for domestic manufacturing will be an ongoing drama for at least 5 years,” according to Rethink as the country deals with module supply to meet demand that’s likely to ‘easily double or triple towards 80 GW a year’.

As Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) subsidies come into effect, there should be a ‘major upswing’ in this market in 2023.

A total of 11.5 GW installed in India during 9M/2022 was mainly due to a stockpile of Chinese modules imported before the Basic Customs Duty (BCD) kicked in. Once that exhausts, in the absence of any readily available domestic module manufacturing, India will have to navigate the transition. Rethink analysts also worry about lengthy court challenges over payments from discoms to renewable generators and ‘shoddy finances’ of these discoms as one of the sore points of India’s solar industry.

For Europe, the report pegs new installations in 2022 at 40 GW, up from 26 GW in 2021 and in 2023 the number could go up to 80 GW. Limiting factors for solar’s growth here will be related to grid capacity availability as in the Netherlands, and lack of trained workforce. While energy crisis brought forth by the continent’s dependence on Russian fuel has sent electricity prices through the roof, it has led to an increasing demand for solar.

Europe is a big export market for Chinese modules of late as energy crisis in the continent fuels demand. To Europe, its module shipments went up 130% in 10M/2022 and are likely to increase by another 50% in 2023. (Source: Rethink Energy)

However, Europe remains dependent on Chinese modules to meet the demand. During 10M/2022, it imported 74 GW solar modules from China, a number that’s expected to grow to 85 GW by the time 2022 ends. “It will be very unsurprising to see around 80 GW installed in 2023, and then 110 GW in 2024,” the report adds.

Among the Latin American markets covered by the report, Brazil went from over 10 GW to over 20 GW in the last 4 quarters and is the 4th biggest solar market globally now. What works for this market is its welcoming regulatory framework for foreign investors and net metering through 2045.

Mexico officially has 6.4 GW utility scale operational capacity cumulatively, another 2.25 GW under construction and 10 GW under development, all to be commissioned by Q1/2025. For Chile, 9M/2022 deployments declined 38.7% to 1.4 GW.

As for East Asia, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea struggle with land availability, growth of solar is restricted. Also they have ‘no big new policies in play, and they are less affected than Europe by the increased cost of fuels and energy’. According to Lead Analyst at Rethink, Andries Wantenaar, “Japan has the highest electricity price of the three by far, but even so is only expected to stagnate at 6 GW per year through 2023 – the new movement for renewables there right now is domestic energy storage to go with the country’s many existing solar installations.”

In terms of manufacturing, China manufactured 715,400 ton of polysilicon in 11M/2022, and is likely to add another 100,000 in December 2022. This 815,000 ton is an increase from 505,000 ton the country produced in 2021. Wantenaar adds that both years are supplemented by around 85,000 tons of imports from the west, so total polysilicon supply has gone from 600,000 ton to 900,000 ton.

The world’s largest supplier of solar products, China produced 206.5 GW wafers, 183 GW cells and 167 GW modules in 8M/2022. Total wafer production at the end of 2022 should amount to 300 GW.

China exported $47.5 billion modules in 10M/2022, with most of these shipped to Europe reflecting an increase of 130% during the period, a number that’s likely to grow by another 50% in 2023.

Wafer thickness has been gradually dropping with the current norm being 150μm. The decline in grams per W is mostly due to incremental efficiency improvements. In 2021, the figure was around 2.8 grams per W, in 2022 2.65 grams per W, and in 2023 it is likely to grow to 2.5 grams per W.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

SENIOR NEWS EDITOR Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews, she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power. In the past 9 years that she has been associated with TaiyangNews, she has covered over thousands of stories, and analysis pieces on markets, technology, financials, and more on a daily basis. She also hosts TaiyangNews Conferences and Webinars. Prior to joining TaiyangNews, Anu reported on sustainability, management, and education for leading print dailies in India. [email protected]

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