Figures released late October by solar PV deployment information group Wiki-Solar show that the global capacity of utility-scale PV generating capacity has now reached 30.3 GW, a growth of 8.8 GW since the beginning of the year, which marks the fifth consecutive record year for the sector.
The growth of the sector has been helped by emerging countries such as South Africa, Ukraine, and Chile, which have all stepped into the top 15 countries for large-scale solar capacity.
The top fifteen markets account for 94% of the world’s utility-scale solar
Much has been made of emerging markets contributing significantly to the overall growth of the industry, and these figures once again play out the important role countries like South Africa are having.
“Grid-feeding solar generation continues to dazzle, with records being broken all over the place,” says Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe. “Our figures show the USA has become the first country to achieve 7GW of utility-scale PV capacity. Meanwhile the UK will probably be seen to have topped 2GW, when the summer’s completed projects are all entered onto the register.”
“Japan and Chile continue to climb the table and, with substantial capacity still under development, will be vying for top-ten places before long.”
Research all through the year has shown the rise of emerging markets. In August, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted that Sub-Saharan Africa was set to see more renewable energy come online in 2014 than had been seen in the previous 14-year period. In September, the Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index was released, placing countries like Brazil and South Africa in the top 10, and others such as Chile and Kenya just outside, but showing strong continued growth.
October saw two separate reports released which continued to highlight the vital importance of emerging markets on the global industry. NPD Solarbuzz released its Middle East and Africa Deal Tracker, which showed the two regions had together over 12 GW of PV solar in the pipeline.
Most importantly, however, Bloomberg New Energy Finance — in association with a number of peers and backers — released Climatescope 2014, “a country-by-country assessment focused on the developing world.”
Ranked according to investment opportunities and policies, the top 10 are China, Brazil, South Africa, India, Chile, Uruguay, Kenya, Mexico, Indonesia, and Uganda.
Wiki-Solar’s own numbers are just another piece of the puzzle when investigating the importance of the whole global market for solar PV. As manufacturing behemoths like China take these reports into account, their already sizeable presence in emerging markets is only going to grow, especially under the weight of US and European trade penalties.