Global solar PV capacity to triple by 2020

The global installed capacity of solar PV will rise from 135GW in 2013 to 414GW by 2020 - around five times the total current UK capacity.

That’s according to a report from consultancy firm GlobalData, which says that emerging economies will be the main driver of this solar boom.

GlobalData energy analyst Swati Singh said: “Asia-Pacific is home to many developing countries, including India and China, where substantial installations are being made. The region is also a leading area for solar energy systems production, with Japan, China and Taiwan being three of the largest solar PV cell manufacturers in the world.

“Governments in the region are promoting solar module manufacturing through various long-term policies,  subsidies and tax benefits. This strong commitment to solar energy development has led to numerous research and development initiatives and increased solar module production and installations, which will drive future market growth.”

Asian companies dominate the global PV supplies market, with seven Chinese companies currently among the top module manufacturers worldwide.

Europe falling behind

Last year marked a turning point in the solar PV space, as China, India and Japan accounted for the majority of global annual installations. China’s growth was especially remarkable, contributing around one third of the world’s 37GW additions in 2013.

Singh explains: “Prior to 2013, most solar PV installations were in Europe, with Italy, Germany, Spain and France accounting for the majority of global annual installations in 2012.

“Reduced solar PV module prices, combined with European countries’ Feed-in Tariff (FiT) subsidies, have supported the widespread growth of small-scale distributed capacity there.

“However, GlobalData believes that these tariffs are likely to become less generous in subsequent years, with the reduction or removal of incentives having already been proposed and implemented in some of the region’s countries.”

The predicted growth is indicative of an impending boom period for renewable technologies. Biopower capacity is expected to double by 2025; wind power is expected to hit 2000GW by 2030, while hydropower could reach 1,700GW in the next twenty years.

Brad Allen

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