SolarPower Europe says 1 TW of solar could be annually installed by 2028

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Global solar installations almost doubled in 2023, with the world likely to reach 2 TW of total capacity this calendar year, according to SolarPower Europe’s annual “Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2024-2028” report. 

The organization’s latest report says 2023 brought 447 GW of new solar compared to the 239 GW installed in 2022, for a year-on-year increase of 87%. The growth rate is at a level not seen since 2010, when the global solar market was only 4% of what it is today.

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said the world has truly entered its solar age. “The sky is no longer the limit,” she added. “How far solar can go will be determined by equitable global access to financing, and the political will to deliver flexible energy systems fit for the renewable reality.”

The report forecasts that the world will achieve 2 TW of solar this year, after reaching 1 TW in 2022. At the end of 2023, capacity stood at 1.6 TW. The report goes on to predict that by 2028, the world could be installing 1 TW of solar a year, although growth is expected to slow down in coming years in the face of high interest rates and grid connection barriers.

While there are now 31 countries installing at least 1 GW per year, up from 28 in 2022, the list features few emerging countries. SolarPower Europe says financing and energy system flexibility must be unlocked, as current growth is not being experienced in all parts of the world. 

“It’s now about setting targets in line with reality, and addressing the familiar challenges – permitting, regulations enabling profitable business models, and the new frontier – system flexibility, through vast amounts of battery storage capacities,” said Michael Schmela, director of market intelligence at SolarPower Europe: “The sector is ready to deliver the decarbonised energy system, and policymakers must wake up to the climate and energy security solution on their doorsteps.”

In 2023, 80% of installations concentrated in the top 10 markets, which in order of the amount of solar deployed in 2023, were China, the United States, Brazil, Germany, India, Spain, Japan, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands. China installed 57% of the world’s new solar last year, equivalent to 253 GW. In comparison, the United States totalled 32.4 GW of new installations.

“China continues to set the pace of the global solar transition. But to keep 1.5C alive, it is more important than ever that we stay united as an industry,” said Sonia Dunlop, CEO of the Global Solar Council. “No one country or company can achieve this goal on their own. We must work together to build new markets with untapped potential, create fair and resilient supply chains, and inject massive amounts finance for solar to lead the energy transition.”

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