Clean Power

Published on August 1st, 2014 | by Joshua S Hill


Global Solar Market Estimated To Reach $137 Billion In 2020

August 1st, 2014 by  

New analysis from business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan shows that the global solar power market earned revenues of nearly $60 billion in 2013, and estimates that by 2020 this figure will double to $137.02 billion.

According to the report, “Frost & Sullivan estimates that global solar market revenues will grow between 2014 and 2020 despite the economic uncertainty in the global markets” — a statement that needs to be awarded a big ol’ “No kidding!” for its absolute lack of insight.

While more research investigating the role renewable energies will play on the future global power supply are always interesting, one does sort of walk away from this most recent analysis with a strong feeling of déjà vu.

“The global solar power market is benefiting from various incentive schemes in the form of tradable green energy certificates, FiTs, subsidies, and tax rebates for the use of renewable energy for power generation,” said Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environmental Industry Analyst Pritil Gunjan.

“However, these incentive schemes continue to be very heterogeneous, making solar PV penetration rates vary widely based on local and regional policies.”

Frost & Sullivan note that the primary sales volume is and will be concentrated within the Asia-Pacific region, but allow that “there is a definite upward growth trend across other markets too.”

The Asia-Pacific region has been steadily growing for several years now, making larger and larger increases in deployment and capacity. Back at the beginning of 2012 I reported on the news that Asia-Pacific solar markets had grown by 165% throughout 2011, thanks primarily to China’s massive 500% growth. Just over a year later another report came out suggesting that the Asia-Pacific renewable energy market was estimated to hit 535.2 GW by 2020, while later in 2013 SolarBuzz analysis predicted that the region would account for half of global PV demand in 2014.

Frost & Sullivan’s analysis make a similar prediction as Solarbuzz, suggesting that the Asia-Pacific region will account for approximately 46% of annual installed solar PV capacity. The top four countries expected to continue staying atop the pile are China, Japan, India, and Australia — though Australia’s recent decisions to minimise their renewable energy focus may impact them in the standings over the next 6 years.

The report recycles a lot of information already floating around in one form or another, making it a little unnecessary in the overall scope of things. However, focusing attention back onto the renewable energy sector in the face of so many countries reevaluating green energy policies can only be a good thing for industries like the solar energy industry.

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • That is if the DoC stops thwarting the solar industry in the U.S. and the both, the U.S. and China resolve their nitpicking solar panel tariff differences. We need this industry to grow and both governments need to work for the welfare of their constituents, not for the benefits of a handful of lobbies.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I want to throw an idea into the discussion.

      Tariffs probably give US panel manufacturers a little breathing room and might allow them to update with more automated equipment. That could help nullify China’s cheap labor advantage. Between lower US production costs and avoiding shipping costs US manufacturers might be able to get back into the game.

      (That’s just a thought. No data to back it up.)

      Not saying that’s fair. But China certainly has played hardball during their industrialization period. Perhaps we have to play at their level?
      A bit higher panel costs, short run, should be easily offset by reduction in ‘soft’ costs. We should complain less about a small increases in panel prices and spent more effort on reducing BOS costs.

      • The gist is that there is no easy answer to this problem, but I wholeheartedly agree with you that working on lowering soft costs is where we need to concentrate. Imposing tariffs without lowering soft costs will only benefit a few companies applying pressure to governments, nothing more. It won’t help the alternative energy budding workforce and industry, which is in a fragile state of development.

        Also, China and Brazil are quick to remind us that we do the same with the sugar commodity, by flooding the international market with cheap subsidized sugar. I’m certainly not defending China, but we can’t blame a country for the things we also do.

        We cannot compete against China’s low worker’s wages and inmposing tariffs will only slow down our overall economy, especially with something as potential as alternative energy.

        • Bob_Wallace

          In general, I’m in favor of free trade. But it also has to be somewhat fair trade as well.

          If China artificially lowered their panel prices in order to destroy competition in other countries, that isn’t fair.

          I don’t know if that is what they did. I simply haven’t tracked the facts. I suspect that some, maybe all, of the price cuts may have been a function of the industry shakeout that happened a while back.

          Supply exceeded demand, prices fell below cost of production, companies either sold at a loss hoping to keep their factories going long enough to ride out the shakeout and/or companies that knew they wouldn’t survive sold for whatever price they could get in order to use up the materials they already had.

          And I’m not saying that the US is always innocent.

          What I do know is that we spend an inordinate amount on permitting and selling. Perhaps on other soft costs. If the rising price of panels lowers sales then solar installation companies are likely to work super hard to cut other costs and keep volume up.

          • I think we agree. Neither China, nor the US are angels here. What irks me to no end, is that both governments take measures and counter-measures that negatively effect the international population and that will not do.

  • JamesWimberley

    Joshua: “one does sort of walk away from this most recent analysis with a strong feeling of déjà vu.” In science the second study replicating the first is unglamorous but essential confirmation. The same holds for reports by consultancies coming to the same conclusion. Especially when influential public agencies like the EIA tell a different story. The shift in the analysis of the IEA was important, and they learned from the literature.

    Niggle: “solar revenue” may be the accepted term of art, but it’s misleading. It seems to relate only to investment in new equipment. Solar panels, like wind farms, produce a revenue stream throughout their working lives. The politics of renewables is not only affected by jobs in installing new equipment, but this steady flow of FITs, PPAs, rents to landowners, and local property taxes, as well as self-consumption behind the meter.

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