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92 GW of Solar Annually by 2020, Apricum Predicts

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Global solar installations will rise by to 2020 to 92 GW yearly, according to a new report from Apricum, compared to 42 GW annually in 2014.

The Berlin-based cleantech consulting firm said most of the 50 GW in annual increases from 2014 until 2020 will come from China, the US, and India, with 36 GW combined.

The Middle East/North Africa/Africa (MENA) region will represent 6 GW, the rest of Asia 5.6 GW, the non-US Americas 4.1 GW, and Europe 3.5 GW.

However, Japan expects to see declines yearly  (-5.2 GW) as it looks to slow its hot growth.

Apricum also notes cumulative installations will reach 604 GW, from 178 GW six years earlier.

In regards to cumulative installations, China will lead with 180 GW, followed by the US (83 GW), Japan (57 GW), Germany (46 GW), and India (41 GW). Concerns over air pollution and climate change will help China with its steady growth.

Meanwhile, the US will see continued growth as more regions hit socket parity and grid parity. Apricum predicts a good 2015, followed by a drop in utility-scale installations as the federal tax credit drops from 30% to 10%, due in 2017.  However, strong rooftop demand, thanks to declining solar prices will continue to bolster US markets, Apricum suggests. Recent clean power legislation and Hillary Clinton’s plan of reaching 140 GW by 2020 may also have positive effects.

While China, the US, and India remain strong, Apricum’s report points to new “solar boom zones” within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Africa. Insufficient energy will drive African countries towards solar, while MENA countries including Israel, Morocco, Jordan, and Egypt are going towards cleaner and cheaper solar energy. Competitive tenders have helped keep prices low (with record lows of 4.9 cents/kWh and 5.84 cents/kWh set within the past year).

Brazil’s strong growth through aggressive auctions and many manufacturers setting up shop there will help push Latin America forward as well. In Q2 of 2015, 363 MW of utility-scale solar energy were added. Brazil was fourth in Q2, behind Honduras, Chile, and Panama, according to GTM Research’s Latin American PV Playbook. While Brazil has potential, recent numbers suggest Brazil will need to do more work to reach Apricum’s fearless predictions.

Europe’s PV market will fall, according to the report. On a positive note for Europe, France is expected to increase renewable energy adoption as it closes its nuclear power plants, which could benefit solar a good deal.

In the future, Europe could see another solar growth period after 2020, when battery storage will reportedly hit grid parity in Italy and Germany. This could help advance residential and commercial installations.

Apricum’s analysis of global markets until 2020 is a unique perspective of where solar energy is heading. However, there are always major X factors which could benefit or detract from the growth. This includes the upcoming Canadian federal election, where the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada is leading the polls narrowly against the Conservative Party. An NDP or Liberal Party government would be more inclined to support renewable energy and climate change initiatives than the current Conservative government.

Nonetheless, hotspots like China, India, and the US will remain good places to invest in solar almost invariably, while Latin America, MENA, and Africa are becoming real contenders in the solar energy game. The future looks bright… if also hot.

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Zachary Shahan Photo

Zachary Shahan

Zach is the founder of Solar Love and the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

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