The Future Looks Brighter as Sustainable Energy Increases Share in Global Energy Capacity

Acceptance towards Renewable energy worldwide has created an upheaval in the existing energy industry, giving sustainable energy sector more and more market share every year. Last year global Renewable energy growth was phenomenal, which showcased 171 GW of new capacity addition. Although, last year’s capacity addition was only 7.9% higher than 2017, consistent growth has helped the sector to account for 1/3 of global energy capacity.

This must be highlighted as an exceptional growth trajectory, considering it took a little more than a just decade to reach this position. Like every year, Asia accounted for more than 60% of the new RE energy capacity in 2018, however what is really interesting is the emergence of new markets like- Oceania (17.7%) and Africa (8%) that are showing rapid growth in Renewable capacity installation, over the previous year. Besides consistent growth in developed countries, this indicates how developing countries are betting big on solar power as well.

Total renewable energy generation capacity (global) currently stands at 2,351 GW. And although Hydro power accounts for the majority of it, solar energy and wind capacities are growing in a rapid manner. For example- in new capacity addition (171 GW) last year, solar energy accounted for ~90 GW of capacity while wind added ~53 GW capacity. Although, wind capacity takes the 2nd position right after the biggest share holder in RE energy mix: Hydropower, Solar energy has been consistently making higher y-o-y capacity addition globally, being championed by its worldwide acceptability.

Solar Power is the Future

In 2018, solar power industry saw a 24% increase in its y-o-y capacity addition (while Hydropower saw 2% and Wind only saw a 10% increase). Although, majority of it was dominated by Asia, new markets like- Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Spain, and Latin America saw considerable growth.

Although there were issues like- Mega tender cancellations, China’s policy shift, feed-in-tariff cut in Japan, and policies levying taxes and duties on solar energy industry in India- that limited solar growth in 2018, solar is expected to surpass 100 GW capacity addition in 2019. We can still expect China to take the lead in installation growth in 2019, however, developing countries will step into the competition and new markets like Egypt, Spain, Argentina, Vietnam are expected to account for 7% of global PV installation growth in 2019.

With China’s demand and share in the PV installation market falling, Europe is expected to show 58% growth in PV installations with considerable growth in grid parity projects, and solar energy storage.

The US will also show nearly 28% Y-o-Y growth, spurred by the deadline for the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) which is December 2019.

Anticipated Growth Trends

Growing demand worldwide will urge in better technology adoption in the solar power sector. Mono PERC have already become a mainstream in 2018, and in 2019, it is expected to account for majority of production capacity reaching 92 GW.

Tender based project awarding system will continue to gain favour worldwide and India, South Korea, Taiwan are expected to drive floating solar panels installation growth in the world. Among other countries, India is expected to rise as a potential market with 10 GW floating solar panels installation target. Energy storage market is also expected to see considerable boost in 2019, The United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Japan and United States leading the growth.

Although, Renewable energy has grown reliably in last 5 years, the growth trajectory has to pick up more speed for the sake of climate improvement and Sustainable Development Goals. Growing solar energy acceptance in the world presents a great opportunity for developing countries like India for country wide solarisation and saving billions (India spent ~$ 100 billion on importing 250.43 million tonne (MT) of crude oil in 2018-19).

However, to realize the potential, India must focus on domestic capacity enhancement in this scenario and re-align policy in favour of solar power growth.