Global solar demand reached 104 GW in 2018


Last year saw 104.1 GW of new solar generation capacity deployed, according to figures released by trade body SolarPower Europe.

The association said global PV growth in 2018 was 1.4 GW larger than it had forecast in figures which it had revised down in June – from 107 GW – due to the Chinese government’s announcement at the end of May of an intent to rein in public PV subsidies.

Michael Schmela, executive advisor and head of market intelligence at SolarPower Europe, today highlighted the positive role played by emerging markets in performance. “Despite China’s sudden restructuring of its solar program last year, the global market was strong enough to more than compensate for the temporary slowdown of the world’s largest solar market,” he said.

EU leads Europe

SolarPower Europe also confirmed Europe installed approximately 11 GW of solar last year, with EU countries accounting for around 8 GW. “The EU has set the stage for solar growth by removing the trade measures on solar panels and providing the right framework for solar to thrive through the Clean Energy Package legislation,” said association president Christian Westermeier, referring to the bloc’s decision last year to end the imposition of a minimum import price for Chinese-made modules and cells.

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of the group, added: “As the lowest-cost and most easily deployed clean energy technology, solar in Europe has entered a new growth phase.”

The global figures prove GTM Research (now Wood Mackenzie), was pretty near the mark in a report published in April 2014. In that forecast, though, China was expected to install around 48 GW of new capacity. In fact, the SolarPower Europe figures show it registered only 44.1 GW, meaning around 4 GW was made up by emerging markets which took advantage of the module oversupply which arose as a direct result of Beijing’s policy switch.

U.K.-based market research company IHS Markit said in June it expected around 105 GW for 2018, which 8 GW less than its previous forecast of 113 GW.

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