Global Solar Market Reclaims Double-Digit Growth, India Falls Behind US, China

The latest IHS Markit report on Global Solar Market says this revived growth is coming mainly from markets outside of China, which are forecast to rise by 43% in 2019 but USA will overtake India to once again become the second-largest PV market.

The global solar PV market is set to bounce back from single-digit growth in 2018 to 25% in 2019, reaching 129 GW of solar installations, according to global business information provider IHS Markit. The report says that this revived growth comes mainly from markets outside of China.

China outlook highly uncertain

Given the current indications of development activity, China, the world’s largest PV market, could grow by 2% in 2019, after reaching 45 GW in 2018. The majority of these installations would come in the second half of the year, according to the latest PV Installations Tracker by IHS Markit.

“Right now, the outlook for China remains highly uncertain, as the new support scheme for PV is yet to be announced,” said Josefin Berg, research and analysis manager at IHS Markit. “Plans to focus policy more on unsubsidized PV systems could slow near-term deployment, unless strict construction deadlines are imposed to spur 2019 demand,” Berg added.

Europe to add over 7 GW

Europe is the region with the largest upswing over the past year, after the minimum import price on modules ended. Installations grew by 23% in 2018, reaching 12 GW and is forecast to surpass 19 GW in 2019. The revived utility-scale market in Spain alone makes installations almost 60% of growth in the region.

US to overtake India

The United States is forecast to overtake India in 2019, to once again become the second-largest PV market. As the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) ends this year, some projects will rush to meet completion.

However, the safe harbor provisions introduced in 2018, which require a 5% investment to be made by the end of 2019 to enjoy the full ITC rate, have also shifted projected installations from 2019 to later years. “Increasing project development activity shows that the years after 2019 will be booming,” Berg said.

In India, the push toward lower tender prices, at a time when components have become more costly through safeguard duties, has delayed several tenders and could shake up the future Indian solar PV market, says IHS Markit.

India’s solar sector, one of the top three markets globally, has witnessed a slowdown in growth of installations after 2017 as it struggled, on the back of policy and execution challenges, to sustain the spectacular rise it had experienced in the last four years. Till December, India has installed only 26 percent of 100 GW solar installation target set for 2022 and of this, large-scale projects accounted for approximately 89 percent and rooftop installation made up about 11 percent.

The sector has faced multiple challenges related to a mix of policy level issues and macro-economic factors. Safeguard duty was finally imposed in July after a lot of uncertainty in the first half of the year. Together with GST, which led the capital costs to go up by about 25 percent, resulting in many tenders being undersubscribed and/or even canceled. As the elections draw nearer experts opine that no major policy change will take place as the budget too had very little to offer the solar industry with the financial year ending.

Published with permission from Saur Energy

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