Solar power poised for worldwide growth

solar-power-EPIA-PV-photovoltaic-megawatts-EDIWeekly

Annual grid-connected solar installations reached a record high of 40GW worldwide in 2014, reports the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) in its latest global outlook, covering 2015–2019. China, Japan and the United States were the top three countries, installing 10.6GW, 9.7GW, and 6.5GW respectively. The EU had a total of 7GW, led by the UK, with 2.4 GW. In all, global capacity reached 178 GW at the end of 2014, more than 1 per cent of global electricity demand. The EPIA is tentatively forecasting that the world could reach 540 GW of solar installed in five years’ time.

The year 2014 marked the first time ever that renewables produced more power in Europe than nuclear. Solar markets enjoyed a “perfect balance between utility scale installations and distributed ones,” showing that solar can offer a solution for diverse needs, from a single light bulb to a multi-megawatt power plant.

This growth demonstrates, according to EPIA, that solar is “unstoppable.” Partly this is because of solar’s growing predictability as a source of electricity. It is also partly due to “massive price declines” in recent years, making solar increasingly cost competitive. The price of photovoltaic (PV) systems has declined by 75 per cent in less than ten years, the EPIA report claims. Best in class examples of power prices from PV range from below $60 per MWh to about $80/MWh. The future, sustained development of solar will depend on its ability to compete with conventional sources of electricity.

The 2014 solar PV markets showed a perfect balance between utility scale installations and distributed ones. Despite the huge interest in competitive calls for tender, the PV market remained balanced between producers and prosumers, demonstrating this unique capability of solar PV to offer a solution to diverse needs: powering a light bulb with a few watts, to offering an alternative to new conventional plants of hundreds of megawatts.

solar-power-EPIA-photovoltaic-megawatts-EDIWeekly
Evolution of global solar PV annual installed capacity 2000–2014 . Source: SolarPower Europe

 

EPIA characterizes the solar power industry as one that is on the edge of a new cycle of investment. Evidence for this can be seen in the fact that innovation has become important again, with “several” manufacturers ordering innovative equipment to upgrade their current production lines or put new ones in place. As well, new module factories are opening, many in emerging markets.

The global value of the PV sector is forecast to reach100 billion euros ($138 billion Canadian) in 2015.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • CSeries on track for 300 orders: Bombardier
  • CAE announces new flight simulator sales, higher profits
  • Supply of oil at record highs, at 100 million barrels a day for the “first time ever”; expected to grow
  • Bombardier holds update on CSeries aircraft
  • Clean freight: with over 10 per cent of emissions coming from "goods moving" the push is on for greener trucking
  • Membraneless flow battery shows great promise for cheaper energy storage
  • Tesla's Powerwall revealed, energy storage for the home
  • Largest biomass power plant in NA set to open in Atikokan
  • World's first 3D printed auto manufacturing platform
  • Oil prices, production in Canada not likely to reach former levels again: CIBC
  • US resumes exports of LNG
  • Ontario to improve business "climate" for automotive industry; special focus on autonomous vehicle development
  • Brighter outlook for Canada's economy in 2016: RBC
  • Wasted mechanical energy could solve world's energy needs
  • Strong manufacturing helped grow economy in January
  • World will invest $7.8 trillion in solar, wind over next 25 years: Bloomberg
  • Surveillance systems company receives $75M federal investment
  • Bombardier Challenger 350 set to fly with NetJets
  • Cars new and used dominate Canada's exports
  • Giant wind-solar development announces SMA Canada for O&M
Scroll to Top