Global solar installations will continue double-digit growth rates into the new decade, global information provider IHS Markit reports in its ‘2020 Global Photovoltaic (PV) Demand Forecast’.
IHS estimates new yearly installations to increase by 14% year-on-year to 142 GW this year.
The 142 GW is seven times that of the entire installed capacity of 20 GW at the start of the prior decade in 2010, the company says.
It adds that the growth has also been substantial in terms of geographic reach. In 2010, seven countries – mainly in Europe – had an installed capacity of more than 1 GW of solar power generation.
IHS Markit expects more than 43 countries to meet that threshold by the end of 2020.
“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,” says IHS clean technology and renewables director Edurne Zoco.
Zoco notes that, 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 unsubsidised solar, diversification and expansion of solar installation demand across the globe, new corporate players and increasing competitiveness with conventional energy sources.
Large markets, such as China, are expected to continue to have an outsized share of new installations into the foreseeable future. However, the reliance on China for global solar installation growth will continue to decrease in coming years as more capacity is added elsewhere, IHS forecasts.
Installations outside of China grew by 53% in 2019 and are expected to continue growing by double digits in 2020.
Overall, the top ten solar markets are expected to see their collective share of the market fall to 73% this year, down from 94% in 2010.
“China will remain in the pre-eminent 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,” says Zoco.
He adds that the major markets will, nevertheless, continue to be critical for the development of the solar industry, especially as test beds of technological innovation, policy development and new business models.
According to IHS, solar demand in China during this year will be lower than historic installation peaks of 50 GW in 2017.
Demand in China is considered to be in a transitional phase as the market moves towards solar being unsubsidised and competing with other forms of generation and there is some lingering uncertainty while awaiting the release of the new fourteenth five-year plan to be announced next year.
In the US, installations are expected to grow by 20% this year, consolidating the US’s position as the world’s second-largest market. California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and New York will be key drivers of US demand growth over the next five years.
After nearly doubling installations in 2019, Europe is expected to continue growing its installations in 2020, adding more than 24 GW – a 5% increase over 2019. Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the Ukraine will be leading sources of demand, accounting for 63% of total European Union installations in the coming year.
Following a flat year in 2019, due to policy uncertainties and the impact of import duties on solar cells and modules, installations in India are expected to grow again and surpass 14 GW in 2020.
Lower module prices and a large pipeline of projects are expected to spur the return to growth.