BloombergNEF expects up to 209 GW of new solar for this year


BloombergNEF has forecast that 2021 may become a record year for PV with over 200 GW of newly installed PV capacity.

In the latest 1Q 2021 Global PV Market Outlook, the analyst expects new PV additions for this year will range from 160 to 209 GW. For comparison, in 2020 and 2019, newly deployed solar had reached 135 and 118 GW, respectively.

Looking forward, BloombergNEF provides a conservative scenario and an optimistic one. Under the first scenario, new grid-connected PV systems are expected to total 160 GW this year and 163 and 179 MW in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Under the second scenario, new PV additions are predicted to reach 209 GW this year and 221 and 240 GW in the following two years, respectively.

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BloombergNEF analysts believe that supply bottlenecks for glass and polysilicon will not hold the market back. “Most country solar markets will grow in 2021, particularly India, which has a large number of projects delayed from 2020, and China, which is expected to maintain growth to keep course for its 2060 net-zero target,” BloombergNEF explained.

BloombergNEF analysts believe that supply bottlenecks for glass and polysilicon will not hold the market back as new capacities for both products are gradually coming online to meet strong demand. “Along with expected new glass capacity, there should be adequate supply as new factories for glass and polysilicon come online, although polysilicon will be the bottleneck and prices will probably stabilize around $12/kg this year,” the analyst said. “There is plenty of module capacity and we expect prices to drop to about $0.19/W for standard modules, based on 166mm wafers, with larger-format modules commanding a premium in markets without punitive trade tariffs.”

A few weeks earlier, BloombergNEF chief analyst Jenny Chase had forecast that the world could add 151-194 GW of new solar generation capacity this year. The analyst also predicted a recovery of the supply of glass needed for solar panels would see average module prices fall a further $0.02/W, to $0.18/W, this year.

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