The top three installers in China, India, and the United States installed close to 48 GW of solar PV in the first nine months of the year, but when put into perspective, China’s installation of 34.5 GW completely overshadows the combined installed capacity of solar in India and the U.S. combined.
According to data released by China’s National Energy Administration, China installed 34.5 GW of solar PV capacity in the first nine months of 2018. India is well behind China as the second largest installer of solar capacity in the world, with capacity additions of 6.6 GW in the same period according to the research firm, Bridge to India. In fact, an earlier projection by GTM Research, another solar research firm, had projected that global installations will cross 100GW for the first time in 2018, a level they will sustain for some time to come.
Boosted by the rapid pace of installations in the first quarter of the year, which saw more than 3 GW of capacity additions, India came out ahead of the United States by 0.1 GW (100 MW) in the third place. Even though capacity additions in the US in the second and third quarters of the year were more than those India (2nd Quarter: U.S. 2.3 GW, India 1.6 GW; 3rd Quarter: U.S. 1.8 GW, India 1.6 GW), the boost in the first quarter was just enough to hand India the second position.
The top three installers in China, India, and the United States installed close to 48 GW of solar PV in the first nine months of the year, but when put into perspective, China’s installation of 34.5 GW completely overshadows the combined installed capacity of solar in India and the U.S. combined. Installing as much as 3 times capacity as the other two combined.
According to a recent report from Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) based on the findings of Wood Mackenzie, in the third quarter of 2018, the U.S. solar market installed 1.7 GW of solar PV capacity, experiencing a 15 percent decrease from the same period in the previous year and a 20 percent decrease from the previous quarter, primarily due to developers being forced to extend completion deadlines for projects to Q4 2018 or Q1 2019, due to uncertainty around tariffs. Even with the tariffs, the report forecasts 3.5 GW of utility PV for Q4 2018 and projects that the fourth quarter will be the largest quarter for utility PV installations since Q4 2016, projecting a total capacity addition of 11.1 GW for the year.
For India, the forecast is for 8 GW of solar PV installations in 2018 due to lack of a strong pipeline of projects. The fourth quarter solar installations are expected to be weak as the Indian market grapples with the safeguard duty and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), among other issues. At the end of 2018, India is projected to be the third largest solar market in the world behind China and the U.S. based on current forecasts.
Even as the pace of installations moderates in China, other countries are ready to pick up some of the slack, as Japan, Spain, Germany and Latin America also step up investments in solar. Thus, it seems safe to predict a relatively stable global growth rate for solar right upto 2020 and beyond at this stage.