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ANALYSIS

Solar PV development has accelerated through
the mid-2000s.

Global solar PV sector hits record 291GW capacity

DUBAI, October 10, 2017

The cumulative capacity of the global solar photovoltaic (PV) segment reached 291 GW in 2016, marking another record-breaking year for the solar PV market, said global management consulting firm A T Kearney in a new report.

Starting from a low base where solar PV represents 1.8 per cent of global electricity in 2016, the outlook is bright, noted the new FactBook titled “Solar Photovoltaic – Sunny days” from the A T Kearney Energy Transition Institute.

 Since its onset, solar PV development has accelerated through the mid-2000s, with numerous countries introducing policies to support it, it added.

Initially driven predominantly by Europe and Japan, solar PV deployment has spread across the world. In recent years, there has been rapid development of PV systems in China and the US, for example. At the end of 2016, China (77.4 GW) led in terms of cumulative capacity, followed by Japan (41.6 GW), Germany (40.9 GW), US (32.9 GW) and Italy (19.2 GW). Together these five countries account for about 73 per cent of the total global installed capacity.

“The global outlook for solar energy and in particular solar PV energy solutions is bright,” said Richard Forrest, chairman of the A T Kearney Energy Transition Institute.

“Solar energy is one of the most evenly distributed energy sources available across the world and solar PV solutions can now provide energy at competitive price levels in key locations compared to more traditional carbon-based energy sources.”

“It is important to make a distinction between grid-connected solar PV capacity and off-grid systems,” said Romain Debarre, managing director of the A T Kearney Energy Transition Institute.

“The development of grid-connected PV has far exceeded that of the off-grid market in recent years and represents 99 per cent of installed capacity. However, growth in off-grid systems is accelerating in several countries and offers a solution to alleviate energy poverty in remote areas or those with poor energy infrastructure in place.”

“The solar PV industrial landscape is highly competitive, which in recent years resulted in production overcapacities, trade disputes, and restructuring of the industry,” noted Romain Debarre, managing director of the A T Kearney Energy Transition Institute.

“Asian companies now dominate the silicon value chain. China continues to be the dominant player in module production, accounting for around two-thirds of global production. European and North American companies, meanwhile, remain strong in engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) and development activities.”

“The potential to increase access to fresh water in arid regions is one of the exciting opportunities offered by solar PV,” said Romain Debarre, managing director of the A T Kearney Energy Transition Institute. “Solar PV-driven desalination integrated with water storage instead of electricity storage presents promising potential at a cost-competitive price point.”

“We expect a rapidly increasing contribution of solar PV to the global power generation mix starting from a low base,” stated Richard Forrest, chairman of the A T Kearney Energy Transition Institute. “With new technological and cost-competitive solar PV solutions readily available, energy transition will accelerate and challenge conventional companies in the energy value chain.”

Middle East insights

“The solar energy potential of the Middle East is huge given the favourable geographic location and the ambitious renewables targets of the individual countries,” commented Kurt Oswald, board member of the A T Kearney Energy Transition Institute and lead partner of the Utilities practice of A T Kearney Middle East.  “We live in a region where the demand for electricity throughout the year correlates well with solar irradiation.”

“Countries in the Middle East have recognized the opportunities offered by solar power. Regional solar capacity is forecast to witness rapid growth with a record capacity addition in 2016 across the Mena region.

 “Specific opportunities exist for solar PV-driven desalination integrated with water storage, especially in water-stressed regions, such as Middle East,” Oswald added. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: photovoltaic | A T Kearney | solar PV |

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