Despite waning government support, the threat of international trade wars, and high-profile bankruptcies, the solar photovoltaic market continues to grow. Solar PV technology costs have steadily declined, and pathways to further cost reduction are being pursued. By the end of this decade, solar PV is expected to be cost competitive – even without subsidies –with retail electricity prices in a significant portion of the world.
According to a recent report from Navigant Research, annual installations of new solar PV capacity will more than double, in terms of capacity, by 2020, growing from 35.9 gigawatts in 2013 to 73.4 GW in 2020.
“Lower prices for solar PV modules are opening up new markets for distributed PV, while also helping the technology reach grid parity more quickly in high-cost retail electricity markets,” says Dexter Gauntlett, senior research analyst with Navigant Research.
“The Asia Pacific region is expected to be the leading regional market for solar PV installations throughout the forecast period, led by China, where more than 100 GW of solar PV will be deployed by 2020.”
As the industry matures, the market will evolve in several ways. While installation types vary by region, there is a general shift expected toward non-distributed solar PV systems as a larger percentage of all solar PV installed capacity, according to the report. Distributed systems will account for less than half of all installations in 2014, and non-distributed systems will represent more than half of the market through 2020.