Global Solar PV Capacity Expected To Soar By 177%

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Global solar PV capacity is expected to increase by 177% from 2014 levels to reach 498 GW by 2019, according to new research from IHS.

Alongside increasing capacity, IHS notes that “the large number of discrete country markets at the gigawatt-level will help reduce demand volatility.” China and Japan will again lead the way, followed by the US and UK, but a number of other countries spread across the continents will also see their demand for solar PV capacity increase over the next five years.

IHS PV Demand by Segment Chart

This, according to the latest IHS Marketbuzz report, “the most comprehensive global solar PV industry research, now backed by IHS.” The title of “most comprehensive global solar PV industry research” used to belong to NPD Solarbuzz, but after IHS acquired the company in November of 2014, that title now covers both entities.

“Last year, the market began to shift toward a more supply-driven market, characterized by high utilization rates, following the more demand-driven market that led to PV manufacturing consolidation,” said Susanne von Aichberger, solar industry analyst for IHS Technology. “This trend is expected to continue through to 2019, when the utilization rate at module production is projected [to] exceed the peak utilization rate reached in 2010, when the global market experienced explosive growth.”

Many of the trends predicted to dominate the next five years are already in place now, as seen by China and Japan accounting for half of total demand in 2014, and the US, UK, and Germany accounting for another quarter of total solar PV capacity demand.

The Marketbuzz report predicts that global solar demand is expected to reach 75 GW in 2019, a 66% increase on 2014 levels.


This demand will be spread over a number of countries, which IHS analysts believe will smooth over any possible volatility the market might have encountered if it again was left to several major markets to control demand.

“In the five years between 2015 and 2019, IHS expects that 11 global markets will exceed the average annual demand level of 1 gigawatt,” von Aichberger added. “This large number of country markets reduces the risk of another explosion in the global PV market and of an overly strong capacity build-up. An increasing number of markets are entering the post-feed-in-tariff phase and embracing the integration of PV into the electricity market, which will help the market to avoid boom-and-bust situations.”

a-Si ASP Chart

According to IHS analysts, the average selling prices of standard c-Si modules are forecast to decline by 27% between now and 2019, reaching $0.45 per watt. The share of thin-film modules produced over the time is expected to decline from 8% in 2015 to 7% in 2015, and remain at 7% through 2019.

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20 thoughts on “Global Solar PV Capacity Expected To Soar By 177%

  • As high-efficiency modules become cheaper relative to the cost of (roof) space installation and financing costs, it’s reasonable to expect buyers to go for higher efficiencies.

  • Solar costs at 45 cents a watt, production time 30 years makes a price of 1.5 cents a watt for Solar energy. a never ending story.
    Sun shines for years to come. next eclipse 2090.
    Bloomberg, we have entered the Solar age.

    • I’m sorry but I don’t think that is valid calculation. You can’t compare capacity and cost that way. Instead it is necessary to estimated production, derive cost that way, like “each installed watt of PV in state of Washington produces about 1.1kWh of energy per year, over lifetime of 30 years it’d be 33kWH”.
      (f.ex see which I used for this example)

      With current estimations of 2$/installed watt (where did you get 45 cents?), that would be about 6c per kWH, although this ignores the remaining factor of financing (money’s not free; and instead of buying PV you could invest it at, say, 4% APR — or, if you don’t have it, borrow with a green loan at about that rate).

      Pretty good deal still of course, but also shows why subsidies exist — with financing price is comparable to utility electricity prices in many states (like WA, where 10c/kWH is typical).

      • Two things.
        find — —-
        find the price
        Solar Price packet 5000 Kwh a year

        5000 euro, euro is parity US dollar.
        solar radiation index here is 1.

        so 5000 Kwh year production.
        30 year is 150,000 Kwh
        5000 euros divided by 150,000
        is 3.33 cents a Kwh. the Netherlands.

        WA solar radiation index is 2
        so 10000 year production in WA.
        30 year 300000 Kwh
        5000 divided by 300000
        is 1.66 cents a Kwh. WA.

        subsidies not needed.

        invest the money you make on your Solar installation every year, and youv got a big time investment.

        • thought you ment Western Australia, sorry.

          • No prob. Western Australia is better than State of Washington, makes sense that’d be more affordable than NL or Pacific Northwest US. 🙂

            Not arguing at all that putting panels is a good thing to do almost anywhere in the world. It definitely is! Just thought I’d share the formula for anyone to calculate how math works for their particular case.

            In fact, I was kind of surprised how low the number is. And definitely suggests that subsidies are just nice to have at this point, but not absolutely essential. It’s great when green sources can outcompete other alternatives, on their own.

      • your math is right. and about financing.
        I can do with 6 c per Kwh. that is cheap Solar Power. I pay 4 % taxes on my savings, now I invested in Solar, save 4 % taxes and make 20 % on Solar taxfree. subsidies not needed.

    • Will E., I’m a huge solar PV fan but those numbers are ridiculous. All of them. Solar PV is not that cheap, you don’t get 1.5cents/KWH, and there will be plenty of eclipses before 2090.

      • the price is mentioned in the article, standard c-Si modules are forecast to decline 27 % between now and 2019
        reaching $ 0.45 per watt.
        We had an eclipse today, a beauty, and in the news, next one will be in 2090.
        I am just the messenger.

        • The 45 cent in article is for modules! Not panels, not installed panels.

          • Just a little additional info…

            PV modules consist of PV cell circuits sealed in an environmentally protective laminate.

            PV panels include one or more PV modules assembled in a frame and pre-wired for installation.

            First Solar is looking at manufacturing cost for modules to hit $0.35 by 2018.

            “That will bring the total installed cost of a module (including racking and inverters) from around $1.59/W to below $1/W by 2017”


  • All I can say is that I wish I owned another home so I could install solar PV on it too.

  • This looks impressive, until you realize it is cumulative installations of Solar PV …and run the numbers compared to recent growth. For the last 7 years Global Growth of Solar PV has been more than doubling very two years, i.e. better than 41% growth in annual Solar PV production/installation each year, here:

    We are still above the 41% growth curve started in 2007, but the annual growth rate slowed in 2011-2012 and is still recovering. I have:
    2011-2012 5% increase in annual production/installation
    2012-2013 21% increase in annual production/installation
    2013-2014 29% increase in annual production/installation

    A 177% increase to 498 GW means we started with 180 GW cumulative installation at the end of 2014. Assuming 45 GW installed Globally in 2014. (Probably a little low.)

    A 23% increase in production/installation (23% CAGR) over the four years leading up to 2019 would result in 490 GW cumulative installation, 103 GW annual production in 2018.

    A 11% increase in production/installation (11% CAGR) over the five years until the end of 2019 would result in 491 GW cumulative installation, 76 GW annual production in 2019.

    I suppose IHS must be talking about the later. Half a Terawatt sounds impressive, it is impressive, but it is a very low-ball estimate. We’re still swinging toward an over-supply situation and very low-cost storage that will allow 24/7 use of Solar PV is starting to enter the market. What makes IHS think Global Solar PV is going to drop to such a slow rate of growth? …just as Solar PV is starting to expand again more rapidly?

    I see acquiring Solarbuzz did little to make IHS a more realistic predictor of Solar PV growth. Maybe if they got some consulting assistance from Finlay Colville they could do better?

    How about this prediction?
    41% CAGR 888 GW cumulative at end 2019
    251 GW annual installed in 2019

    We shall see.

    • Mike for how many years did EIA predict that starting next year wind will drop to a replacement install rate? Now a great reported would have added so history background to IHS predictions. Something like in 2010 IHS predicted 2014 market would be xx, instead it was YY. Ok also include how solarBuzz did. That would give a hint on how big a grain of salt is needed.

  • call headline police! “Expected To Soar By 177 Percent” and then in the story saying you mean in five years is (well there are ladies present). It is nothing but cheap clip thru bait. You know people have enough trouble with yearly precent. And anyone for how english is a first or even second language know that the headline implied 177/year. If you are a nerd/geek then you know number freaking matter!

    • according to my understanding of grammar, by 2019 means “by January 1st 2019”. If it is said that solar will soar 177 percent by the end of 2019, then it refers to December 31 2019.

  • It’s about a 10-fold increase every decade.

  • I hope this thread has not completely cooled off, because a nice discussion of the cost of PV has begun. This topic should not be so obscure to the general public. “How much does solar cost per KWH?” is the question. Then the answers explode all over the place. People confidently refer to the NREL calculator, but there are several ways to think about this. Some talk of the “cost of money”: in other words, if you invested $10,000 in savings account vs buying 3 kw of install PV. But this needs careful thinking through. For instance: don’t expect to get compound interest on your savings account because each year the interest will be just enough (if you are fortunate) to cover the cost of your electric bills. SO your $10,000 account stays the same, but inflation starts eating it. On the other hand your PV array has increased the value of your house and reduced your utility bill. That reduction could be used to invest in a compound interest account or some good stock. etc, etc.
    How much production per year in each part of the country for your PV? What about rebates? What about the “avoided cost” of utilitity rate electricity in your local area? Is it 12 cents or 19cents?

  • “Global solar PV capacity is expected to increase by 177% from 2014 levels to reach 498 GW by 2019”

    Way too low.

    • Indeed, my prediction is that solar continues doubling every two years or so, at least to early 2020’s. Therefore I predict that global solar capacity will be around 600 GW in January 1st 2019.

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