Solar market research company PV Market Alliance has concluded that at least 98 gigawatts of grid-connected solar PV was installed in 2018, adding another voice to an already confused reading of the 2018 solar industry.
The PV Market Alliance is a grouping of regional solar PV and CPV experts from China, Europe, Japan, Latin America, and the United States, and the group published preliminary numbers on Thursday which showed at least 98 GW worth of solar was installed in 2018. The numbers refer only to grid-connected solar PV systems instead of installations or shipments.
China led with 44 GW, as the country’s own National Energy Administration reported earlier this week, while non-Chinese markets grew from 45 GW in 2017 to 54 GW in 2018, a 20% year-over-year growth — however, according to the Alliance, the United States, Japan, and India did not contribute to this growth. Europe installed approximately 8.5 GW driven primarily by Germany and Denmark, while several emerging and established markets across all continents started to increase their share with at least 19.5 GW installed, including countries such as Australia, Korea, the UAE, Egypt, Mexico, and Brazil.
Looking forward, and relying on a stable market in China, the PV Market Alliance predicts global PV growth could grow by as much as 20% to 120 GW in 2019.
As we have seen in recent days, however, solar installation numbers are rather tricky — and as highlighted by the Alliance in its own press release, in which it avows the use of installation or shipment numbers.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance believes that 2018 capacity additions will work out to be around 109 GW and could expand to as much as 125 GW to 141 GW in 2019. Conversely, Wood Mackenzie believes that 2018 figures only reached 94.8 GW, will only hit 103 GW in 2019 and expects installations to settle at around 115 to 120 GW through 2023.
The PV Market Alliance also expects solar to continue to grow, and in a separate announcement, the analysts revealed that it believes solar PV markets should double during the next five years and reach between 180 GW and 200 GW from 2022 thanks to a more diversified market.