China’s policy shift, mega tender cancellations and policies levying taxes and duties on solar industry in India, feed-in-tariff cut in Japan have made 2018 the year of uncertainty for solar. However, surveys suggest that global PV solar installations will see nearly 18% rise in 2019, finally reaching and may be surpassing 100 GW capacity addition. Although, at the end of 2019, we would still be far from ‘0’ emission future, rising PV installation growth and emergence of new markets within developing countries will get us closer to that goal.
China is predicted to lead the installation growth in the present year, but its market share will fall from 55% to 19% by 2023. Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa will scale rapidly and several new markets like Egypt, Span, Argentina, Vietnam will also see boost and may account for nearly 7% of global PV installation growth in 2019. And more than 20% Y-o-Y growth in global PV installations will be witnessed at the end of the present year.
The US will show nearly 28% Y-o-Y growth, spurred by the deadline for the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) which is December 2019. The first half of 2019 will see huge demand outside China (Mexico, Vietnam, Spain). Although, we have witnessed slog in PV demand in Europe in recent years, in the present year Europe is expected to show growth in grid parity projects, and solar energy storage. And the continent is expected to show nearly 58% growth.
Mono PERC year: It is expected that 2019 will be the year of mono PERC (passivated emitter rear contact) solar module products. Mono PERC became a mainstream in 2018, and in 2019, it is expected that majority of production capacity will focus on this technology. Mono PERC capacity was standing at 33.6 GW at the end of 2017, and reached to 66.7 GW in late 2018. It is estimated that it will account for a 46% share of the market in 2019, reaching 92 GW.
Tender based growth: With 2017 and 2018 showing countries favouring tender based project awarding system, 2019 is expected to see more and more tender based auctions. According to German energy agency Dena, it is witnessed that over 29 countries held tender based project auctions 2017. Also as an example, we can uphold that- European Commission demanded auctions for RE support from its Member States.
Tide of Floating Solar Growth: In 2017, floating solar growth stood at 390 MW, in 2018, the capacity surpassed 1 GW and in the present year, India, South Korea, Taiwan will drive floating solar growth in the world. Among other countries, India will rise as a potential market with 10 GW floating solar installation target.
Growth in battery storage market: At the beginning of 2018, globally 420 MW (cumulative capacity) of battery storage linked with utility-scale solar were installed. This accounted for 40% rise in energy storage growth in the world. And in 2019, this trend is expected to continue with large scale solar plants being installed around the world. The United Kingdom, France, United States, Japan, and South Korea are expected to show tremendous growth in solar energy storage market.
Scenario in India and Way Forward
Although, India has made great strides gaining 24th rank in 2018 from 137 in 2014 on World Bank’s Ease of doing business – “Getting Electricity” ranking, there are still challenges like- safeguard duty on SEZ based manufacturers, lack of clarity on GST, BIS standards, power evacuation issues and delays in getting solar parks ready, that have to be considered and actively solved to help the country in winning its place as a leading solar country.
There is continuous solar importing, lack of green energy distribution to the grid, drop in solar tariff, cancelation of projects, that are limiting Indian solar growth each year. However, the recent policy deviations have made things even more challenging for Indian solar sector.
As global PV growth shows, there are new opportunities on technology, project, energy storage, and overall market growth in the PV market. However, for India to utilize this scenario, alignment on policies is needed. India currently has 13.8 GW of projects under execution with 22.8 GW of projects tendered. Renewable energy capacity addition is expected to reach 10 MW to 15 MW by the end of 2019, most of which will come from solar. With global PV growth scenario, the opportunity is rising for developing countries to solarize their country, saving billions (India spent $ 87.7 billion (Rs 5.65 lakh crore) on importing 220.43 million tonne (MT) of crude oil in 2017-18). However, to realize the potential, India must focus on domestic capacity enhancement in this scenario and re-align policy in favour of solar growth.