Business intelligence company IHS Markit appears to have joined the chorus of naysayers casting doubt on whether India has any chance of hitting its hugely ambitious 100 GW solar target in 2022.
The 2020 Global Photovoltaic Demand Forecast published this week by the market research company says India will deploy 14 GW of new solar this year, helped by ever cheaper solar modules and its huge project pipeline.
However, IHS referred to last year as “flat”, in terms of year-on-year comparisons of the amount of new PV generation capacity deployed, and cited policy uncertainty and the impact of the safeguarding duties applied to solar imports as the chief reasons for a lack of progress.
The mixed messages present in IHS Markit’s prediction for India are representative of a global outlook which trumpets expectations of a 14% rise in new capacity additions – to 142 GW of new solar this year – only to give a more nuanced, less positive survey when regional figures are fleshed out.
With the forecast resorting to comparing the 2020 prediction to the figures recorded a decade ago, a glance at the individual market expectations indicates continuing uncertainty in China, the world’s biggest solar market, and a dramatic slowdown after an impressive 2019 in Europe.
While solar installations outside China last year are expected to have grown by as much as 53%, IHS Markit is confident enough to predict only continued “double digit growth” across the same regions this year. Meanwhile, the summary issued to publicize release of the report predicted the uncertainty dogging the world’s biggest solar market is likely to continue until the details of the next five-year plan are made public next year.
Noting Europe almost doubled the amount of new solar capacity installed last year, compared to 2018, IHS Markit expects only a 5% year-on-year rise this time around, with the region expected to deploy more than 24 GW of new capacity. Of that figure, around 63% will be accounted for by Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Ukraine.
India kept at bay
The U.S. will remain the world’s second biggest solar market this year, according to IHS, an underwhelming 2019 scotching previously trailed hopes India would overtake the solar superpower. In the States, Florida, North Carolina and New York are expected to join the list of key drivers cited by the analyst, behind perennial solar leader California and recent contender Texas.
Although the top ten solar markets will contribute 73% of the world’s new solar capacity this year, according to IHS, new markets will emerge in Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and “more than 43” nations – 44, perhaps? – will boast more than a gigawatt of installed solar capacity in 12 months’ time.
That sort of proliferation will mark a different direction for global solar in the new decade, according to Edurne Zoco, director of clean technology and renewables at IHS. In the press release published to accompany the report, Zoco said: “If the 2010s were the decade of technology innovation, steep cost reductions, large subsidies and dominance by a few markets, then 2020 marks the decade of emerging unsubsidized solar, diversification and expansion of solar installation demand across the globe, new corporate entry players and increasing competitiveness versus conventional energy sources.”