Global annual solar deployment to hit 1 TW by 2030


From pv magazine USA

If it feels as if the solar industry has crossed a major milestone, that’s because it has. Cumulative industry deployments reached 1 TW of installed capacity at some point in the first quarter. And now, only a couple of months later, it is time to move on from these accomplishments and ask the industry, “what will you do for us by 2030?”

The industry is asking for 1 TW of solar power, installed each and every year, starting in 2030. At InterSolar Munich last week, Longi Solar, the global leader in solar panel manufacturing, projected that global solar deployment will reach 1 TW per year by 2030.

To elucidate this point, pv magazine USA assembled this chart based upon BloombergNEF solar deployment data from 1980 through 2021. The vertical axis shows the amount of growth in each year versus the three years prior. Based on the deployment volume of 7 MW in 1980, divided by 20 MW of volume in 1983, we saw 286% growth – almost tripling deployed capacity in three years. This is an average that saw “slower” 127% to 286% growth in the 1983-2003 period, which turned into explosive 224% to 661% growth from 2004 to 2013, before settling into 156% to 224% growth from 2014 through to the present.

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The trend line shows that we’ve slowly been increasing deployment growth rates since 1980. And if we were to have actually doubled our deployment volume every three years since that 7 MW built in the 1980s, we would have built somewhere between 100 GWdc and 114 GWdc of capacity in 2021, instead of the ~183 GW which was actually deployed.

Looking at these numbers, it is easy to see how Longi and others have arrived at their projections. Several industry analyst groups have reported that global solar deployment in 2021 totals 150 MW of capacity, versus BloombergNEF’s 183 GW. Starting with the lowest estimate, and assuming that installed capacity continues to double every three years, the capacity deployed in the near future will be immense:

  • 2021 – 150 GW
  • 2024 – 300 GW
  • 2027 – 600 GW
  • 2030 – 1.2 TW

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