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Perspectivas. Mercado de la energía solar a nivel global

18 September 2017

Solar Power Europe in its Global Market Report 2017-2021 examines the possible scenarios of photovoltaic energy in the next five years.

It establishes two analysis plans, both globally and at a European level. In this first part we only consider the first.

Classify the future scenarios in Low, Medium and High:

  • By 2017 and as a low scenario, governments in key markets are expected to withdraw support for solar energy. The installed power estimate would then be 58.5 GW. This possibility is very unlikely to occur in view of the facilities and plans announced by the main solar actors in the first quarter of the current year.
  • The average scenario estimates approximately 80.5 GW of FTV installed in 2017, which would mean a growth of 5% over the 76.6 GW installed in 2016.

  • The high scenario seems very ambitious on first impression, but bearing in mind that the leading markets still rely on Regulated Tariff mechanisms (China and Japan: FITs, US tax credits), there is great upside potential:

> China: By 2017 and globally, growth will continue to be led by this country. Faced with the colossal demand last year (34.5 GW), most experts expect a slowdown.

> The United States started out quite slow this year and is expected to add 12 GW in our average scenario, with a 19% decrease over additions since 2015. Fear of the negative implications of any decision of the Managing Climate Change Disorders, such as increased trade barriers or changes in solar investment tax credits, could push promoters to accelerate their projects. Depending on whether, and to what extent such decisions would be implemented, the US market could be adversely affected: UNCERTAINTY IS NEVER GOOD TO ATTRACT INVESTMENTS.
 > Japan. The additional solar development of this country is also difficult to predict. With the new fiscal year, April 2017, Japan has revised its FIT program. New projects of more than 2 MW will now be tendered.
 > India reaches 15 GW of new capacity in fiscal year 2017-18 (through March 2018). Since installation activities in the Indian market have been very high since the beginning of the year and the policy framework (constantly improved) facilitates faster development, our average scenario assumes 9.9 GW of new capacity additions, which would mean more than twice the installed capacity in 2016.

  • All scenarios or prospects for the 2017 Global Market are more positive than in the previous edition. If last year we anticipated a total or cumulative installed capacity of 358 GW for the Middle Scenario in 2017, this year the estimate is approximately 8% higher (387 GW).
  • In the years 2019 and 2020 the focus will be on basically three aspects:

1. Establishing new designs in the electricity market.
2. In the integration of storage technologies.
3. In the improvement of distribution and transmission lines.
It is a fact that solar energy as the cheapest generation technology. Accepted by most political leaders, associated with wind and storage, it provides great security in supply.

  • 2021 will mark the point of another two-digit growth phase. Our average scenario assumes that global demand will increase by 14% to 111 GW of solar energy by 2021.

  • By 2021, the world's solar generation plants could have a capacity of up to 935 GW, although 772 is considered more likely. After reaching 300 MW globally in 2016, we expect total or cumulative installed capacity of FTV to exceed:

         - The 400 GW in 2018,
         - 500 GW in 2019,
         - 600 GW in 2020
         - 700 GW in 2021

    With the top 3 solar countries accounting for more than 75 percent of global demand by 2016, a major market only needs to make the wrong policy decisions to disrupt the entire solar sector.
    Taking this risk into account, our under scenario assumes a development that results in an annual global market of only 65 GW in 2020.

  • Asia will continue to dominate the solar sector in the near future, regardless of whether growth follows the Low or High scenario.

  • In the next five years, only a few countries will continue to absorb most of the solar system's capacity, even if the rise in the number of solar markets is noticeable. Among the top 20 potential markets, only one country, China, is expected to add more than 100 GW by 2021 and only two other markets could install more than 60 GW, the United States and India.

  • The expectation of installing more than 20 GW in the next five years, only concerns four countries: China, India, the United States and Japan.

    At the same time, a growing number of emerging markets around the world will rapidly adopt solar energy.

  • If the High Stage becomes a reality, eight of the 20 most important projects will install more than 10 GW each and in any case, each of the 20 main solar markets will install at least 1.8 GW.

  • The top 20 (non-European) markets will record average double-digit annual growth rates for the average scenario up to 2021, of which 3 countries - SAUDI ARABIA, EGYPT and BRAZIL - are assumed to grow beyond 100%.Japan is the only leading non-European solar nation with a 5-year 'rainy' forecast. The country is expected to add 29.6 GW, according to our Middle Scenario at the end of 2021, which would be surpassed by three other countries (China: 120 GW, USA: 69.9 GW and India: 66.4 GW) and is supposed to add 3 times more than MEXICO, the next largest solar market.

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