Clean Power

Published on December 15th, 2015 | by Joshua S Hill

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Global Solar Installations To Reach 64.7 GW In 2016, Says Mercom

December 15th, 2015 by  

Global installations of solar PV in 2016 are expected to reach 64.7 GW in 2016, according to new figures provided by Mercom Capital Group.

Mercom Capital Group released its forecasts for 2016 this week, predicting installations would conclude at 57.8 GW in 2015, and then grow to 64.7 GW in 2016, with China leading the way with approximately 19.5 GW to be installed in 2016.

“The largest markets in 2016 will again be China, the United States and Japan; the United States is set to overtake Japan as the second largest solar market behind China,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group. “These three countries will account for about 65 percent of installations next year.”

Mercom-19

China has already installed almost 10 GW so far this year, well ahead of the 3.79 GW it had installed over the first three quarters of 2014. Though curtailment and delayed subsidy payments still remain an issue, the recent announcement of an additional 5.3 GW installation quota with a completion deadline of June, 2016, is likely to speed things along.

Looking beyond China, Mercom expects to see the United States install 13 GW in 2016, becoming the second largest solar market in the world behind China. Japan will install about 9 GW, despite grid issues, curtailment, and a reduced feed-in tariff. India will install about 2.15 GW, the UK around 2.8 GW, Germany approximately 1.5 GW, and France 1.1 GW.

The prime growth factor for the United States over the next 13 months is the rush to get in before the closure of the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) that is due to drop to 10% in 2017. There is a slim chance this could be extended beyond 2016, but the industry is not betting on anything.

Mercom-20


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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 (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.



  • ROBwithaB

    Ah. Okay, that makes sense.
    Found it now.

  • ROBwithaB

    Thanks for the clarification. I figured that was probably the case.

  • Mike Shurtleff

    Last time we had a 13% growth rate in Solar PV was 2012 due to a very painful over-supply situation, a glut in supply. We don’t have a supply glut right now. Why would growth be that slow in 2016? I’m skeptical.
    Solar PV growth has slowed. We’re no longer staying above the 41% growth curve since 2007. (with higher growth rate before that) We dipped below once before and came back strong. I keep waiting for that to happen. What I read from the likes of Finlay Colville is the big dog producers of Solar PV panels are still gun shy about growing too fast. They haven’t forgotten about the over-production in 2011?. Market share in a huge market of the future is at stake. I would guess this hesitation will pass soon …but what do I know? I’m pretty sure 13% is too low …again, but I’m puzzled why we’re not returning at least to 30%+ growth …why not 41%+ again? Global energy glut?

    • Alastair Leith

      If governments and network utilities make rooftop PV less attractive commercially it can really dent sales. Check out these growth rates in Australian states. State government FiTs are part of the subsidies arrangement so State policy changes really hit PV and you can see the distribution of surge and decline patterns in the growth factors.

    • Alastair Leith

      If governments and network utilities make rooftop PV less attractive commercially it can really dent sales. Check out these growth rates in Australian states. State government FiTs are part of the subsidies arrangement so State policy changes really hit PV and you can see the distribution of surge and decline patterns in the growth factors.

    • Alastair Leith

      If governments and network utilities make rooftop PV less attractive commercially it can really dent sales. Check out these growth rates in Australian states. State government FiTs are part of the subsidies arrangement so State policy changes really hit PV and you can see the distribution of surge and decline patterns in the growth factors.

      I’d note that while average system increases, driving growth, actual installs are down YOY for last couple at least and number of designers and installers employed in the industry is down YOY. So this whole think about steady growth being more stable for employment etc is garbage, the industry needs strong growth due to larger average system sizes effecting the figures and just the fact of consolidation.

      • ROBwithaB

        It is possible for strong growth to be stable. If installs were growing at 15% a year, every year, for two decades, that would be a very stable situation.
        What one wants to avoid is the huge swings up and down. That’s what leads to poor allocation of resources.

        (I’m very curious about those vertical lines for the Northern Territory in the 2007-2009 period. What was your source for these graphs? Two successive years of over 800% growth seems inconceivable, unless it started off a VERY low base. NT population is tiny. I suspect the data set may have been too small for the sampling methodology.)

        • Alastair Leith

          the huge downswings occur when residents ‘over subscribe’ to solarPV offerings with state paid for subsidies (just like they have done with ff for five decades but that is considered a social good so it continues to line ff pockets for no actually policy reason) and then the government overreacts by drastically cutting the FiT subsidies.

  • Tom Taylor

    Sure won’t get big growth in solar PV in NZ, our ‘clean, green’ government doesn’t like it.

    • Mike Shurtleff

      What is cost of your end-of-grid electricity? Could be pretty cheap. I’m thinking you might have a lot of hydro. Also, good deal of geothermal, yes?

      • Tom Taylor

        Currently NZ electricity generation is roughly 75% renewables: about 55% hydro, 15 % geothermal and 5% wind. Retail prices are about NZ$0.3/kWh. The geothermal potential is reckoned to be about about 3600 MWe (NZ Geothermal Association) i.e.approx. 6 times current generation.

        • Mike Shurtleff

          Converting from NZ$ to US$ using 0.68, NZ30c/kWh = US20c/kWh. Not as expensive as Australia, but not as cheap as continental US, ~US12c/kWh. I’m surprised. Hydro is usually cheapest source, new wind is lowest cost new power source for grid here at around US4c/kWh, and I thought a lot of your geothermal was close to the surface.

          I looked at a global solar irradiance map. NZ is pretty far south. Most of Australia is bright red on the map, so lots of sun. New Zealand is very green, so not near as much. Means your c/kWh for solar will be higher. I live in Washington state in US. We’re actually getting into a little blue, so even less than you.

          The cost argument for going solar won’t be as good for NZ. I’m thinking you guys are right on the cusp of where it starts to make sense economically. I may be being optimistic. The solar resource will also be much more seasonal there, as it is here, although we also get lots of rain in winter …Western Washington state in particular.

          It may turn around as the cost of solar continues to fall, but I can see why they are not all that excited about it.

          Interesting to consider. Thanks, mike

        • Alastair Leith

          you could do a lot of CO2 drawdown with geothermal excess capacity and earn international credits, (which are currently worth nothing much)

  • Frank

    I’d sure like to see wind and solar together add north of 1% of total electricity generation per year in the US.

  • cumfy

    I’d be surprised to see under 70GW, and with costs coming down expect to see growth at 30% soon. 200GW by 2020 perhaps.

  • Graphite Gus

    After COP21 and the pollution red alerts in china, I think we will be well above 65 GW

    • Riely Rumfort

      We’ll see, I’d expect a bit beyond it but not much, stolid species.

    • Andy

      Agreed. I have a feeling residential solar is going to go nuts in the US. All it takes is one system on a roof and suddenly half the neighbors want to know everything about it. As people learn about the ITC expiration, they’ll join before “it’s too late”.

      • patb2009

        it’s becoming a thing… Now that corporate america views this as a low risk investment, they will put a lot onto their roofs and parking lots.

        • Mike Shurtleff

          Yes, commercial installations in US are already increasing at higher rate than before.

      • Alastair Leith

        yeah USA clocks on to Solar, rest of world either shrugs or gets on it too. will help.

    • jeffhre

      ~70…

      then 79

      89, 101, 114, 129 etc?

  • Matt

    To bad then didn’t include two more into the chart, EU and RestOfWorld. To get their global forecast they had to calculate them. The %YOY is critical and low at this point. We still need to be doubling total installed capacity over short time frames. To double in 2 years (~45%YoY install rate), in 3 years (~25%), 13% gives about 5 years to double. Wind is growing even slower over the last 4 years. Yes, I know this is not the answer from rule of 72 or compound interest. That is because I’m look at the rate of change of year install rate need to double total installed.

    • ROBwithaB

      Exactly.
      If these numbers are right, it’s actually kinda disappointing. Going to take a long time to change the world at growth rates of 13%pa.
      But maybe this year was a temporary blip.

      • Foersom

        It is much better to see a stable 10-20 % growth year after year for the next couple of decades, than boom-bust scenarios we have seen for wind energy in US. Boom-bust is very costly for industry and for the people who looses their jobs when boom time is over.

        • Matt

          While I would rather see a stale 10-20% then the GOP induced boom/bust we saw in USA wind. I am only say that 13% growth in install rate (starting from 1% base) PV and lower install rate growth in wind; will result in 2020 being too low, and then 2025 will be ….
          If the growth of install is going to be 10%, we all need to do what magic you do to get mother nature to bring us a early mini ice age.

          • Foersom

            ROBwithaB and I, talked about the world and the world is already at 58 GW annual installation. Stable growth is better for producers of Solar PV, for solar park investors, for installers, and people working in the business.

          • Alastair Leith

            Exponential growth can be stable why not. you attributing some nythincal stability to linear growth. why? b/c the stock markets grow both linearly and exponentially. well transitioning to 100% RE is a bit more mandatory than shareholder value.

          • ROBwithaB

            It’s a fair point from Foersom.
            Investors who see steady growth (especially in an unsubsidised market) over several years will be happy to jump in and commit the billions required.
            Once the solar industry stops being touted as new and “Green Tech”, but is viewed as just another boring industry with stable returns over decades, perhaps we’ll see more production facilities going up.

          • Alastair Leith

            the investment money is there, just needs the correct market settings, i.e. closing coal and gas out of the market progressively to reduce overcapacity in the bidding markets.

          • ROBwithaB

            I’m not sure I understand your plan.
            How would you “close coal and gas out of the markets”?

          • Alastair Leith

            any number of ways. in USA Obama is going to use emissions pollution legislation that will ratchet up and just make it too expensive to refurbish/retrofit scrubbing that will allow dirtier coal power stations to continue to operate. Was done to circumvent a denialist Congress (including many Democrats in coal states) but it may turn out to be more successful i.e. and less expensive and faster to get to zero than that pricing carbon (there are many was to do that like cap-and-trade or fee-and-return).

            In Victoria we have three massive dirty lignite coal-fired power stations and some smaller ones. They could be shut down by legislation like obama’s clean air act or by pricing their pollution (they probably would be able to operate today in USA just on toxic emissions alone). That would free up capacity for the 54 wind farm projects (many approved and shovel ready) looking to get a PPA so finance will be ticked off.

            Gas is harder because we don’t presently account for the fugitive emissions adequately, so the gas CC and peakers and domestic appliances are flying under the GHG emissions radar. We need to sort that out, but many people can get there heads around the difference of 100 Year GWP and 20 Year GWP and why 20 years is a long time when your on the brink of extremely dangerous CC.

          • ROBwithaB

            I’ve been thinking of something along the lines of a massive public campaign by ordinary citizens, demanding to CHOOSE what type of electricity they consume.
            I think one can already do this in the U.K.
            I call it “Break the Grid-Lock”. In many areas, the transmission grid and the power plants are owned by the same company, usually a monopoly. The grid is “locked”.
            If we are able to free up the grid to all players, the transition will happen much sooner. One can still have the supply-side measures, like stricter enforcement of pollution legislation, with extra leverage of demand side pressure helping to incentivise renewable sources.

          • ROBwithaB

            Of course the “Grid-Lock” situation is even more dire if the monopoly generator is also the final distributor and retailer.
            That’s so screwed up! I’m amazed that people aren’t burning tyres in the streets in protest. Can you think of ANY other industry in the 21st century where that sort of absolute monopoly would be tolerated?

            I suspect it has to do with the public’s inherent fear of electricity, which the monopolies deliberately exploit.
            Perhaps basic education is what is needed…

          • Alastair Leith

            That’s what bze was doing for a few years. Loads of volunteers doing public talks. Lost our way a bit on that side of things but we changed the debate in this country to accept that 100% was a) a thing b) possible c) affordable & d) essential to hurry about achieving.

          • ROBwithaB

            Belize?
            We don’t hear much about the central American success stories. I mean, we hear about them from time to time on here, but not so much about the HOW.
            It’s a bit easier if you have lots of hydro…

        • ROBwithaB

          Fair point.
          And a stable viable industry will provide a better platform for future growth.
          Just frustrating. Like a kid waiting for Christmas, or on a long car trip to the seaside. When the goal is already clearly visualised, patience is difficult.

        • Alastair Leith

          Rubbish. Solar has been growing at a doubling of deployed capacity every two years for three decades with attendant 20% price drop learnings curve for each each doubling. we need that to continue, the difference in hitting 100% RE between 20% stable growth and two year doubling growth (exponential) is decades. We don’t have decades. We don’t even have years, we are already in dangerous and moving into extremely dangerous CC territory.

    • eveee

      Not sure what you mean, Matt. 72/i = doubling rate. Example, a 7% interest doubles every ten years. In order for wind to double every 5, rate of return has to be about 14%. The approximation is inaccurate for high rates, like over 30%. But if you double every two years, thats a very high rate of return, for sure. ( or a staggering growth rate) Doubling every two years, means in 20 years, 1000x. Saturation should happen pretty fast.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

      Love this video. A crusty, but wonderful guy, Bartlett.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        Nice video explanation.
        Doubling every two years can be calculated by taking the square root of 2. 1.4142… => 41.42% growth rate. I usually just say 41%
        check:
        1.41 x 1.41 = 1.9881
        1.4142 x 1.4142 = 1.99996164

        • eveee

          This interesting. Rule of 72 comes from the growth math as an approximation. I assume you have another approximation. Can you elaborate?

          • Mike Shurtleff

            eveee,
            Not an approximation. Simple math. Well, simple with a calculator. X to the Y exponent. You want a number that multiplies by itself Y times to give you an X multiplier total.
            A is the number of years. Y = 1/A. X is the multiplier.
            To calculate your number just used X to the Y to find the root number.

            Examples:

            1. Growth rate for doubling (2) every two years.
            X = 2; Y = 1/2 Number = 2^1/2 or square root of 2 = 1.4142
            Start with 10 GW.
            10 * 1.4142 = 14.142 for first year.
            14.142 * 1.4142 = 19.9996164 for second year.
            …or about 20 GW
            Will come out more exact if you use more of the fractional part of 1.4142.
            This is about a 41% per anum growth rate.

            2. Doubling in three years: X = 2; Y = 1/3
            Number = 2^1/3 or cube root of 2 = 1.2599
            Start with 10 GW.
            10 * 1.2599 * 1.2599 * 1.2599 = 19.9990 GW
            ~26% per anum growth rate.

            3. Tripling in five years: X = 3; Y = 1/5 = 0.2
            Number = 3^1/5 = 3^0.2= 1.2457
            Start with 10 GW.
            10 * 1.2457 * 1.2457 * 1.2457 * 1.2457 * 1.2457 =
            10 * (1.2457^5) = 29.9963 GW
            ~25% per anum growth rate.

            4. Doubling in ten years: X = 2; Y = 1/10 = 0.1
            Number = 2^1/10 = 2^0.1= 1.0718
            Start with 10 GW.
            10 * (1.0718^10) = 20.0050 GW
            ~7% per anum growth rate.

            Think the 72 rule is for quick calc in your head when doing business deals. …for when you don’t have a calculator with X^Y function. You should have this in your computer using scientific option in calculator ap.

            Regards, mike

          • eveee

            Thanks, Mike.

      • Alastair Leith

        We actually need 1000x pretty quick, in many countries PV is below 2% of national energy market and if you include non-electrical energy even lower. And for three decades PV module growth has been two year doublings. As Ray Kurzweil pointed out that means by 2036 we’re on track for meeting present day demand from all energy sources, and it will be trivially cheap, as in near free, I make it < 0.1c/kWh.

        Even when we saturate the stationary energy market, there's transport, industrial processes all shifted to electrical supply.

        Then after that there's atmospheric draw down of GHGs like CO2, scrubbing to fix it with olivine or serpentine or whatever to try and get back to 280 ppm CO2-e. And it all needs to happen tomorrow if we're to save the Western Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelf which has 11 metres of SL rise itself. And now the much larger East Ice shelf is looking like it's much less stable than previously assumed. Arctic, greenland etc etc.

        • eveee

          I wish getting rid of backward politicians blocking clean energy was 1000x.

          • Alastair Leith

            it’s the money in their pockets we need to get rid of first. People power is starting to turn the worm. I think it’s going to come to late, but better late than never, hey. And if we can change the way decisions get made in the world and who benefits to stop the syphoning of power and wealth to the top as has been going on forever but especially in the last 30 years then we have something worth doing.

          • Frank

            Peabody stocks haven’t done too well lately. I hope that makes it harder for them to buy friends in office. I’m also hoping for more money and jobs in RE, and I personally keep trying to let people know that the transition just isn’t going to hurt.

          • eveee

            Your comments run in line with those that see rooftop solar achieving “people power”. There is some truth to that. This kind of thought is what drove Energiewende and explains why entrenched utilities loathe it.

          • Alastair Leith

            If you haven’t already join a climate action group the fits your perspective on the issues. It’s going to take everyone of us and a few more to pull down institutionalised government capture a the federal and state levels in most western democracies. No an easy task but 100% required. In Australia we a re seeing the blatant support of plant destroying industries like coal gas and oil by all the old parties. Revolving door is on overdrive at the moment. Or a revolting door, really.

  • Foersom

    65 GW new solar PV in 2016 sound good.

    For 2016 new installation of wind should be about the same. In 2014 new wind installed was 51 GW.

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