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Global solar PV installations to hit 115 GWdc in 2020

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According to Wood Mackenzie’s latest quarterly market forecast, as global solar PV markets continue to face the challenges raised by the coronavirus pandemic, solar PV installations are projected to exceed 115 GWdc this year.

This is up 5 percent from the total installed globally in 2019.

“The most severe of lockdowns have ended in almost all countries, with construction on PV sites able to continue as planned, albeit with many projects facing delays caused by disruption earlier in 2020. Year-over-year growth in installations will continue each year to 2025, topping out at 145 GWdc. The one exception will be 2024 when the US market will slow following the final stepdown in the ITC schedule.”

Ravi Manghani, Wood Mackenzie head of solar.

The Chinese market continues its robust recovery in Asia and Wood Mackenzie now expects installations of 39 GWdc by the end of 2020. Of this number, in the second half of the year, 27 GWdc will be built.

The pipelines for both subsidy-free and auctioned projects have exploded in 2020, and amid short-term supply chain instability delaying module procurement for some developers, the Chinese market will rise 30 percent year-on-year.

In comparison, coronavirus cases continue to increase in India, and social distancing steps are likely to at least slow down installation activity for the rest of the year.

India’s 100 GW solar goal is unlikely to be achieved without policy enforcement. Indian PV installations will sit at only 4.9 GW in 2020, down 42 percent on 2019 and the lowest amount since 2016, according to Wood Mackenzie’s report.

The preference of the European Commission for a decarbonization goal of 55 percent by 2030 is an optimistic long-term indicator for the European economy. Wood Mackenzie reports that the share of renewable energy in the EU’s power supply will need to increase to 65 percent by 2030 , up from 38 percent in 2020, to achieve this goal.

The 52 GW cap on installations that would have ended the FIT program has been removed by the German government and installations are expected to hit nearly 4.5 GW in the country, the highest level seen since 2012.

In the US, due to the pandemic, utility-scale timelines were largely unchanged, while ongoing shelter-in-place orders triggered a 23 percent drop in QoQ residential facilities and a 19 percent drop in non-residential facilities in QoQ.

Installers have largely managed to resolve delays using virtual sales and permitting platforms, however, even in the distributed segments.

Permitting and low power prices are the key obstacles of developers in Latin America. Nevertheless, amid economic and lockdown-related setbacks, Wood Mackenzie expects the business to continue to expand this year as projects come online. The region’s key growth factor will be the growing project pipelines in Brazil and Chile, as political and regulatory instability threatens the potential of the Mexican industry.

The regional storyline remains based in the Middle East on fierce tariff competition and top-down procurement on a utility scale. Emerging markets in Africa are starting to shorten project creation cycles and decrease pipeline attrition. Wood Mackenzie has tracked over 1 GW of commercial and industrial projects in the pipeline in the MEA region as a whole.

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