- SPE’s Global Market Outlook report counts 138.2 GW new solar having been installed in 2020 around the globe
- Among the top 10 countries was a surprise addition of Vietnam that stood only next to China and the US with 11.6 GW installed last year
- In 2021, SPE expects annual PV additions to grow to 163 GW in the medium scenario
- 2022 will be the year to watch out for since SPE sees the world for the 1st time crossing 200 GW milestone for annual additions and TW level for aggregate installations
- Off-grid solar too is on a growth path as the report cumulative installed capacity of off-grid solar to reach 10.58 GW in 2021
Solar PV technology is to continue its track record of exceptional growth in the next few years as it looks well positioned to reach the milestone of exceeding the TW-level of cumulative installed capacity by 2022, according to the latest report of European solar PV lobby association SolarPower Europe (SPE), growing from 773.2 GW at the end of 2020.
Launched during the smarter E Industry Days event on July 21, 2021, the Global Market Outlook For Solar Power 2021-2025 report, shortened as GMO, it estimates the world having installed 138.2 GW new PV capacity in 2020, representing an annual growth of 18% despite the year being severely impacted by one of the greatest health crisis the current generation has seen, COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018, SPE had predicted over 130 GW of new PV in 2020 for the world (see SolarPower Europe Ups Global PV Forecast).
Solar PV technology claimed 39% global share of all newly installed power generation technologies, which according to the report writers translates into every 3rd new power plant unit installed in 2020 to have come from solar.
At least 18 nations are reported to have added more than 1 GW capacity in 2020, one more than in 2019 with China leading the pack having installed 48.2 GW (see China Installed 48.2 GW Solar PV Capacity In 2020). It was followed by the US with 19.2 GW (see US Installed Record 19.2 GW Solar In 2020).
One big surprise addition in the top 10 list was Vietnam that the analysts have placed on the 3rd spot having installed 11.6 GW in 2020, having grown from 6.4 GW in 2019 and a ‘measly’ 97 MW in 2018. It just goes to show what supportive regulatory framework (in the case of Vietnam it was the very attractive feed-in-tariff (FIT)), can do to encourage renewable energy’s growth, SPE emphasized.
Japan and Australia were top 4 and 5 markets with the addition of 8.2 GW and 5.1 GW, respectively.
For 2021, the report’s medium scenario expects 163.2 GW of new additions for solar PV, growing around 18% over 2020, and this will be despite recent price increase in the solar supply chain and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Further on, next few years are going to be even stronger for solar as the world gets vaccinated and the silicon supply issue is expected to be resolved. As per the analysts, under the medium scenario anticipated, the world will for the 1st time breach the 200 GW level for annual PV installations with 203 GW and that’s when cumulative capacity will also exceed TW level for the 1st time, reaching 1.1 TW.
In 2023, the writers see 203 GW being installed (1.3 GW aggregate), 239 GW in 2024 (1.6 TW aggregate), and 266 GW in 2025 (1.8 TW aggregate). “Under optimal conditions, the world could operate a solar fleet as large as 2.1 TW by the end of 2025,” according to the report.
SPE’s Head of Market Intelligence Michael Schmela, also the project manager and lead author of the report, stressed that despite this strong growth of PV technology globally, it doesn’t take away from the fact that 70% of global power still comes from non-renewable polluting energy. Hence, he argued that the world needs ‘much more ambition from policymakers to enable the industry to accelerate deployment, to fulfil the complete potential of solar and meet the Paris Agreement targets’.
SPE’s President Aristotelis Chantavas batted for ‘right permitting processes for smooth development and right regulatory frameworks for electrification and renewables integration’ if we are to have a ‘solar-powered future’.
For the 1st time the GMO includes perspective on the growing impact of off-grid solar for some parts of the world. In 2020, it counts the global annual installed capacity under this segment having grown to over 1.5 GW, up 9% annually. It can mainly be attributed to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Asia-Pacific and the Sub-Saharan African regions added the maximum capacity. On cumulative basis, the capacity has now grown to around 10 GW at the end of 2020.
Under the report’s medium scenario, analysts expect cumulative installed capacity of off-grid solar to reach 10.58 GW in 2021, and reach 27.395 GW by 2025.
The report can be downloaded from SPE’s website for free.