June 15, 2023
Driven primarily by climate change and the push for renewable energy, solar photovoltaics (PV) was a fast-growing market even before recent events that have brought energy security to the forefront. Solar PV capacity increased from just 6 GW in 2008 to almost 1200 GW in 2022. Since 2022, growth in the solar industry has accelerated as countries increase their investments in the industry.
2022 Solar Power Investments (Billion USD)
Although China is the leader in solar capacity, the largest investments in six current projects are actually driven by India, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico. Total investments for these six largest projects total USD $7 billion.
Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE*): PV Utility Scale
The cost of utility-scale solar PV has dropped 90% since 2009 – with the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) dropping from $360 USD/MWh to $38 USD/MWh in 2021. The LCOE increased for the first time in 2022 reaching $50 USD/MWh and is expected to increase further to $60 in 2023 driven by inflation, supply chain challenges, and the global energy crisis.
However, as these upward cost drivers ease, and considering the level of capacity under construction, the LCOE is expected to continue its downward trend over the coming years and drop to the 2021 level or even as low as $30 USD/MWh by 2030.
*LCOE calculates CAPEX and all OPEX costs, including maintenance costs – The LCOE is the lifetime cost of an electricity plant, divided by the amount of electricity it is expected to generate over its lifetime.
Note: the LCOE is NOT at 100% Load Factor.
Capacity Forecast (GW)
Incorrys expects solar capacity to more than triple from about 1200 GW in 2022 to 3800 GW in 2030.
Breaking it down by country, China is forecast to continue to lead the pack increasing their capacity from about 400 GW to 1000 GW, or possibly more, by 2030; an increase of 250% over the 8 years. In fact, all of the individual countries shown here are expected to more than double, and almost triple, their capacity with India increasing by over 400%.
However, as the rest of the world continue to rapidly build out their solar capacities, both China and Europe see their market shares decline between 2022 and 2030; China going from 33% to 26% and Europe from 22% to 16%. All other regions maintained about the same market share over the forecast period. There is an inherent risk to these build outs as China does control almost the entire solar supply chain so there is a risk of supply disruptions. This is especially true for Europe who relies almost entirely on imports of solar PV panels from China.
As of last year, it is estimated that countries responsible for more than 70% of global GHG emissions have committed to reach net-zero by the middle of the century. This includes 12 African countries that represent over 40% of the continent’s total CO2 emissions. Currently, countries in Africa are suffering from the global energy crisis and impacts of climate change so the global clean energy transition holds new promise for Africa’s economic and social development. Affordable energy for all Africans is the immediate and absolute priority and governments are making all possible efforts to create, and expand, their solar power capabilities.
2030 Market Share
In 2030, China maintains the largest market share of solar capacity, although it does decline from 32% in 2022 to 26% in 2030. Both Europe and the US also see their market share drop over the forecast period. The remainder of the countries shown here remain about the same.
Offsetting these declines in market share is the many countries and regions making up the rest of the world which increases its market share from 18% in 20212 to 29% in 2030.
Each countries trade policies will be a large factor going forward. Since China is the dominant supplier of PV components, if countries were to limit imports and favor domestically produced PV products, China would be forced to scale back their PV production.
Capacity Forecast by Country
Incorrys expects that China will reach 1000 GW of solar capacity by 2030, 2.5 times greater than 2022. Europe grows from about 275 GW to just over 600 by 2030 and the US increases from 150 GW to 400 over the same time period.
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