Global solar market to reach $75.2 billion by 2016

01. September 2011 | Top News, Global PV markets, Markets & Trends | By:  Nicholas Stone

New solar technology like concentrated solar power (CSP) and the opening of new markets are tipped to become a strong growth engine for solar moving forward, according to a new report looking at how the industry will develop before 2016.

Close up of Photon Energy's solar photovoltaic panels

Global solar installations are expected to reach 46.8 GW per annum in 2016. Image: Photon Energy.

The report, titled "Solar Power Market by PV, CSP Technologies by Installations, Price, Cost, Trade Trends & Global Forecasts (2011 - 2016)", was released at the end of August by MarketsandMarkets, a global market research and consulting company based in the U.S. It covers photovoltaics, solar thermal, CSP and concentrated PV.

Overall, it was found that the solar market will eclipse $75 billion dollars and that installed capacity will reach 227 gigawatts (GW) by 2016.

Global solar installations, meanwhile, are expected to reach 46.8 GW per annum in 2016, up from 19.8 GW in 2011, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.7 percent during the same period.

Again, there was the prediction of short-term stunting of the market. The cumulative installed solar capacity, which increased by 70 percent in 2010, is estimated to grow by only 50 percent in 2011, affected mainly by governmental interference with feed-in tariffs and concessions, as well as global economic conditions.

The report says that this will only be a minor dip, however, with strong global growth and developments in technology helping to drive the overall market up again.

"Development of remote regions, substitution of nuclear reactors with renewable sources and technological innovations such as space solar power generation are the main market opportunities responsible for compounded annual growth rate of 30.3 percent in annual solar power installations in the next five years," a briefing on the report provided to pv magazine said.

pv magazine was additionally told by Rohan Salgarkar, AVP of Business Development at MarketsandMarkets, that the agenda for the briefing was to discuss market drivers, opportunities and burning issues for the global solar energy market.

CSP growth

One of those opportunities was CSP, which is predicted to have annual installations of 46.7 GW in 2016 and a CAGR of 18.7 percent through to 2016.

The report makes special mention of CSP becoming more of a market force in the near future, as investment, as well as research and development of the technology help make it a viable alternative to traditional photovoltaics.

CSP technologies are expected to grow at a faster rate than photovoltaics due to new markets like China, India, Brazil, Canada, Germany, and France opening up, as they look to exploit the newest technologies.

During 2011 to 2016, the CSP market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 44.9 percent, compared to a photovoltaic market growth of only 29.9 percent.

These levels will still leave it trailing photovoltaics by a fair margin though, as cumulative installed capacity of CSP and photovoltaics is expected to be 8.6 GW and 219 GW respectively at the end of 2016.

Global trends

MarketsandMarkets found that North America will be the fastest growing market and will grow by a CAGR of 30.7 percent in annual installations from 2011 to 2016, with an estimated market size of $14.8 billion.

The growth of North America is led by the U.S., where both photovoltaics and CSP technologies are being heavily invested in.

Asia-Pacific is then predicted to be the second fastest growing market, and will develop by a CAGR of 20.5 percent in annual installations, driven mainly by increasing investment and installations in China.

From 2011 to 2016, the rest of the world – constituting Brazil, Israel, and the Middle East in the report – will explore solar energy and will experience a CAGR of 18.8 percent.

Europe, so long the mainstay of global photovoltaic output, will remain the biggest market, it was said, driven by Germany and Spain.


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