A total of 16 gigawatts (GW) worth of new utility-scale solar PV was brought online through the first half of 2018 according to new figures published this week by Wiki-Solar, representing a 20% decline on the same period of time a year earlier.
Wiki-Solar, one of the world’s leading sources of utility-scale solar information, published its half-year figures for the first half of 2018 this week, revealing that a total of 16 GW worth of utility-scale solar PV capacity was installed, bringing the world’s cumulative large-scale capacity to 160 GW.
However, 1H’18’s 16 GW was a 20% decline on the same period a year earlier, and Wiki-Solar believes that 2018 might be the first year this decade to fail to set a new record of capacity additions.
Unsurprisingly, China again leads the way with the most capacity additions for the half — as well as being partly responsible for the slowdown — with capacity down 30% in the first half of the year. And while this has been partly offset by growth in other countries where solar has grown close to, or hit grid parity, whether or not emerging and new markets can offset the whole of China’s impact is unknown.
“New capacity in North America continues to grow, with projects proving cost-competitive,” said Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe. “India is pressing ahead with competitive tendering for solar capacity at economical grid prices. Meanwhile, other markets where solar is a low-cost alternative, such as Chile, Australia and Brazil are increasing their contribution.”
Cumulatively, China remains well ahead of the pack, with a total of 56,872 megawatts (MW) worth of utility-scale solar installed, followed well behind by the United States with 31,045 MW. The below table shows markets where solar is becoming the low-cost alternative increasing their global place overall. Other countries — such as Japan, France, the Philippines, and Thailand — remain steady, while Wolfe predicts that “the UK and Germany are ‘treading water’ and will tend to slip down the list” since, as Wolfe explained to me via email, “incentives were eliminated in the former and cut back in the latter. However the declining cost of PV will start to make unsubsidised projects viable … so the market should pick up again in future years.”
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