Global PV Industry Growth Trajectory: Predictions for 2020

2019 has been another winning year for the global PV industry. The sector witnessed nearly 115 GW new capacity addition in 2019, recording a 17% increase from last year’s growth. With the world becoming more aware and ready to adopt solar, the increasing flow of investment, emerging economies leaning towards green energy, and consistent drop in solar technology cost are all indicating 2020 to be the stepping stone for exponential solar growth worldwide.

With support and opportunities aggressively realized in line with climate improvement protocols in 2020, global solar photovoltaic capacity can reach up to 1 TW by 2030. Currently, market trends and demand analysis show that global Y-O-Y PV growth will reach 130 GW in 2020, showing nearly 20% growth than 2019. Now let us make a close inspection of this growth and explore intricacies.

Leaders and New Players

Like the last year and the year before, Asia is expected to account for most of the PV installation growth (70% in 2020) in the world. China would be leading the upward swing, while India and other Asia-Pacific countries follow suit. In 2018 China’s total solar PV capacity stood at 170 GW and by end of 2020, the country is expected to work towards expanding the capacity to 210–270 GW. In this trajectory, about a third of the global solar capacity addition is expected to come from China alone.

Despite the fossil fuel dependency and announcements of ramping up oil generation, the US is expected to add significant solar capacities year over year. Although the country installed less than 10 GW of solar in 2019 (the milestone achieved in the previous year), installations are expected to grow across all market segments in 2020 as prices decline and developers aggressively build projects to take advantage of Investment Tax Credit.

Although California has been the hub of solar adoption in the US, 2020 is expected to see new markets emerge in Minnesota, South Carolina, Florida and Texas.

India is expected to pursue its announced target of 100 GW of solar power deployment by 2022. With policy reforms, plans to reduce coal requirement by about 8%, investment promises from SoftBank, Foxconn Technology, India can make a turnaround from current slog in the industry brought on by- the trade war between China and the US, effects of demonetization, GST, slowing down investment, a slew of tender cancellations and dampening global manufacturing pace.

New emerging markets for solar will include Greece. Greece, being the only nation in Southeast Europe to disclose a coal phase-out date, is expected to make positive changes in 2020. Set of strategies to adopt solar and reduce fossil fuel dependency is expected to be active in 2020.

Tech Trends

In the last few years the demand shift from multi to mono-crystalline and replacing Al-BSF p-type cells with rear passivation layers (PERC), were quite obvious. 2020 is expected to follow that trend. P-type mono PERC cells are expected to account for more than 80% of all crystalline production in 2020.

Market Trajectory

Continuously decreasing production cost and supportive Government schemes favouring solar adoption are expected to decrease the average system price of solar PV even further. Although 2020 is expected to show tremendous growth in global PV installation, the market is suspected to witness a slight fall due to decreasing capital costs.

2020 will show a rise in auctions/tenders for solar project development in developed (China, India, Australia, Japan, Germany, France, and Russia) as well as developing countries. India being a pioneer in solar auctions (1st in May 2017) is expected to simplify the process in 2020 by enforcing policies and removing bureaucratic hurdles.

The data interprets 2020 as a very successful year for solar. The year is also globally very crucial because it can act as the stepping stone for developed countries as well as developing countries to initiate next level of solar adoption schemes that can lead the countries to phase out fossil fuel and improve the economy.