SolarPower Europe has predicted the volume of new PV capacity added this year will be 4% less than last year’s figure because of the Covid-19 crisis. At the end of 2019, the world had topped 630 GW of solar. For 2020, around 112 GW of new PV capacity is expected, and in 2021, newly installed capacity could be 149.9 GW if governments support renewables in their coronavirus economic recovery plans.
The global PV market is forecast to expected to contract only slightly this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Global Market Outlook 2020-2024 report published by industry body SolarPower Europe.
The middle-of-the-road, ‘medium’ scenario outlined in the report, which the association sees as the most likely future path, envisages new generation capacity additions will hit 112 GW this year, around 4% down on the 116.9 GW added last year.
The organization’s more pessimistic scenario entails 76.8 GW of new solar this year, and the ‘high’ prediction posits 138.8 GW.
The least favorable outcome already appears unlikely, given the solar volumes deployed already this year, stated SolarPower Europe, although the industry group added: “If another wave of the pandemic hit major economies severely in the second half of the year, demand for solar might indeed collapse.”
The medium scenario also envisages global solar demand returning to significant growth from 2021-24, helped by the Chinese market. “We estimate Chinese solar demand will reach around 39.3 GW in 2020, 49 GW in 2021, 57.5 GW in 2022 and 64 GW in 2023 and 71 GW in 2024,” the report notes.
For next year, solar demand would climb 34% to 149.9 GW, according to the medium path, and in the following three years new additions would hit 168.5 GW, 184 GW, and 199.8 GW. If those numbers are achieved, the world’s PV capacity would increase from around 630 GW at the end of this year to more than 1 TW in 2022 and 1.2 TW by the end of 2023. At the end of 2024, the world would have 1,448 GW of solar, however, those medium milestones would only be achieved, SolarPower Europe stated, if governments include support for renewables in their post-Covid economic stimulus packages.
Last year’s edition of the report predicted medium scenario returns of 144 GW of new solar this year, 158 GW next year, 169 GW in 2022 and 180 GW in 2023, implying the Covid-19 pandemic can be expected to continue to affect the solar market for the next three years.