Solar is becoming cost competitive with conventional energy technology, giving rise to new opportunities from both the technical as well as business side. According to IHS Markit, demand for solar continued to grow throughout the world, despite uncertainty and volatile pricing. Annual installations reached the 100GW milestone in 2018; a figure that seemed unattainable a decade ago. In 2007, annual installations barely achieved 2GW. In the white paper “Predictions for the PV Industry in 2019,” IHS Markit identified several trends, including that global PV installations will return to double-digit growth in the fourth quarter, 2019. And that European PV demand will return to 2012 levels as corporate PPAs play a growing role.
Here’s a look at some changes from around the world.
Germany, which used to be the #1 in the world in solar penetration, is back in the news and proving to be a leader in innovative use of renewable technology. The German Association predicts deal totaling between 3.5 and 4.5 billion Euros in the next two years, as the country called for tenders for constructing solar power plants that will add another 4 gigawatts to the country’s output.
The country has moved away from nuclear power and fossil fuels and is embracing renewables with renewed vigor. Recently Germany has seen a marked increase in solar + storage systems. Sonnen and tiko Energy Solutions, for example, recent obtained re-qualification from TenneT to provide primary balancing power using its country-wide network of residential battery systems. Using individual storage systems, sonnen is providing the energy market with a virtual battery, which can be used to to compensate for fluctuations in the power grid among other services.
Optimism in Spain
2018 saw the installation of over 260MW of new solar in Spain, compared to 135MW in 2017; an increase of 94%. The government removed the “sun tax” and committed to running entirely on renewable energy by 2050. This policy change along with lower production costs, better frameworks for self-consumption of solar and price cuts are driving this renewed solar market.
SolarPower Europe forecasts that 8.8GW of new capacity will be added by 2022, resulting in a total capacity of 14.6W.
Ambitious goals in France
France’s Multi-Annual Energy Program set ambitious annual growth targets of up to 44.5GWp by 2028; the current solar capacity in France is just under 9GW. Hanwha Q Cells Gmbh seized the opportunity by securing a carbon footprint (CFP) certification in France for its Q.PEAK and Q.PEAK DUO solar module series.
History in California
On the world solar map, California is often treated as if it were a separate country. In fact, it is the world’s fifth largest economy and it recently demonstrated that strong clean energy goals make for a strong economy.
In August it was announced that Senate Bill 100 was passed, which calls for 100% clean, carbon-free electricity by 2045. The bill increases California’s clean energy goals from 50% by 2030 to 60% by 2030. Bill coauthor and Assemblymember, Laura Friedman said, “There is no other issue but climate… Let’s show the world who is watching, what we are able to achieve in California.”
The rest of the U.S.
Meanwhile, more than 80 cities in the United States have committed to transition to 100% clean energy. As of September 2018, at least six U.S. cities had already achieved 100% clean energy and are powered today with entirely renewable sources.
Written by Anne Fischer, Managing Editor, Solar Novus Today