Solar becoming irreversible mainstream energy source, says Frost & Sullivan


The world will be increasingly powered by solar PV as the technology becomes more affordable, efficient and mainstream, say analysts from Frost & Sullivan.

The Frost & Sullivan report released prior to an analyst briefing to be held next week suggests that the Asia Pacific countries of China, India and Japan will account for more than 80% of all solar installations over the coming years, growing to account for 64.1% of all installed solar PV capacity by 2020.

The analysts pointed to regulatory support in these countries as the chief driving factor behind solar’s projected adoption rates, citing "pro-solar incentives and the pledges made at the COP 21 summit" as the surety for exponential growth over the coming five years.

"China and Japan will continue to lead the region with compelling FIT rates and capacity-based rebate programs," said the report. Demand for solar in Latin America and Africa will be driven by investments in grid infrastructure, Frost & Sullivan say, as governments spend big on securing their energy supply.

However, on a global basis, it is the spiraling cost declines of solar panels that are acting as the main catalyst for greater uptake, ushering PV into the mainstream – where it will stay. "Falling costs not only support grid parity but also bring increased uptake of decentralized solar energy in this low-price era," said Frost & Sullivan director energy and environment, John Raspin.

Solar power has, Raspin went on to say, evolved into a key energy source on the global stage; one that is triggering a shift towards decentralized energy generation – with the lowering of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other emissions a happy by-product, but also a priority for many countries. Solar is also pivotal in enabling countries to enhance the security of their energy supply – a positive that is gaining greater traction globally with each passing months.

The report concludes that "energy sufficiency" is one of the drivers impacting the growth of the solar industry, supported by long-term climate goals and cost-focused policies designed to increase the penetration of innovative renewable energy sources. The next challenge, says Raspin, is to ensure grid integration and investment in energy storage initiatives are sufficient over the coming years.