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Published on April 27th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill


Mercom Says Global Solar Installations Set To Reach 66.7 GW In 2016

April 27th, 2016 by  

Global solar installations are expected to reach 66.7 GW in 2016, thanks to strong growth in China, the US, Japan, and India, according to Mercom.

According to Mercom Capital Group’s new Solar Market Update, China, the United States, Japan, and India will make up the top four solar markets in the world this year, pushing total global installations to 66.7 GW.

“Solar installations are forecasted to grow year-over-year globally despite recent headwinds in the sector with solar stocks, yieldcos, bankruptcies, and the negative perception surrounding solar public companies,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group. “Solar has grown from just 2.6 GW in 2007 to a forecasted 66.7 GW in 2016 showing impressive resiliency along the way as it becomes one of the fastest growing new generation sources around the world.”


Mercom, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, expects China to increase its yearly solar installations up from 2015’s 15.1 GW to 18.5 GW by the end of 2016. China has already installed almost half of that figure, with new figures from the country’s National Energy Administration revealing that China installed 7.14 GW of new solar capacity in the first quarter of 2016 alone, bringing the country’s cumulative total up past 50 GW.

The US market will benefit from the extension of the Investment Tax Credit, with a conservative estimate of 13.5 GW of new solar capacity installed in 2016.

Japan is expected to install around 10.5 GW of solar in 2015, pushing hard towards its current goal of 28 GW of new solar installed by 2020. However, Japan cut its feed-in tariff in March by 11%, from “an overly generous FiT in 2012 of ¥42 (~$0.387)/kWh, it is now down to ¥24 (~$0.221)/kWh.”

Finally, Mercom expects India to install over 4 GW in 2016, bringing it into the fourth spot globally.

In Europe, the top three markets are the UK, Germany, and France.


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  • Matt

    Story is about the growth in installation rate (yearly additions), so lets stick with that. And assume that at the install rate in 2015 was 57.8GW. then different % in install rate has a big impact on the future. James thinks we will be closer to the green row (20%) while John think we need 40% until 2020 (to get to 250) and then can be constant. Neroden’s point is that even if we don’t make 250GW/year in 2020 if we stay on a growth curve well will exceed it any way, for example on 20% row 2025 is 358 GW/year

    • Matt

      I tend to agree with John in that the rate will likely be in the range of 20% over the next few years. But with the signing of the Paris agreement, if we get a big swing in public views and then public policy. We could see the growth rate increase. Say China, USA, and EU put a real carbon price/dividend system in place. RE are cheap enough they can do that without hurting they economy.

  • vensonata .

    We need to ramp up to 250 Gw per year by 2020 to make it to 50% of world electricity production by 2040 through PV. So 66 Gw is 25% of where we need to get to.

    • neroden

      I don’t know how you’re doing your calculations, but with exponential growth, no, this isn’t how it’ll happen. We’ll be below 250 Gw per year in 2020, but we’ll be around 100% of world electricity production in the mid-2030s. (Though electricity usage and demand *will* grow thanks to the supply of solar panels.)

  • eveee

    Look at the annual growth chart. Proof one can’t take a single year growth approach to predict solar future from existing data. The data needs smoothing.
    9GW predicted addition for 2016 despite China alone doing over 30GW in 2015?
    US could do that alone in 2016 if Texas gets going.

    • John Norris

      CAGR does smoothing. See reply to James below (deja vu, I know 🙂

    • John Norris

      No, not a 9 GW addition. A 66 GW addition.

      • eveee

        The chart shows 68G 2016, 59G 2015. Am I missing something?

        • John Norris

          The chart isn’t clear. That’s 66.7 GW growth in 2016. Trust me on that 🙂

          • Kevin McKinney

            You’ve got to be correct, or else this can’t be reconciled with reports that China reached 50 GW solar in 2015–or, more directly, with IRENA reports that global solar last year was already at 227 GW.

          • eveee

            Ok. Thanks. Sounded suspiciously low.

  • JamesWimberley

    Yet another consultants’ forecast predicting that solar growth will slow down in 2016 – to the same 13% as 2012, a record low after two years of obviously unsustainable supergrowth. 2014 and 2015 were in contrast normal years, in fact below the long- term average.

    You can make a case that 2011-12 marked an inflection and that the new normal is round 20%. I could understand using that. But “growth must slow down someday, logistic curve, mumble mumble” is not a convincing argument for a sudden deceleration in a benign policy and financial environment.

    • John Norris

      Installed solar was 68 GW in 2011. Forecast is 307 GW in 2016. This is a 35% CAGR [68 * 1.35^5 = 307]

      Let’s see what 2017 brings!

    • Freddy D

      Since the world needs about 5,000 GW of solar and similar wind to get off of fossil fuels, let’s hope that exponential growth continues or it will take 100 years.

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