European solar trade body SolarPower Europe has doubled down on its belief that the global solar industry installed over 100 gigawatts (GW) in 2018 while predicting 800 GW of new capacity will be brought online over the next five years, bringing cumulative capacity to 1.3 terawatts (TW) by the end of 2023.
As has already been amply explained, it will be decades, if ever, before we can all agree on exactly how much solar was installed in 2018. SolarPower Europe, attending Europe’s leading solar trade event Intersolar Europe this week, has confirmed that it believes 102.4 GW of new solar was brought online in 2018, 4% higher than 2017’s record 98.5 GW and bringing global cumulative capacity up to just over 500 GW.
However, what is more important is the group’s predictions for 2019 and the next five years, as published in its Global Market Outlook 2019-2023 report. Specifically, SolarPower Europe expects 128 GW of new solar PV capacity to be brought online in 2019, bringing cumulative capacity by year’s end up to 645 GW thanks to a 25% bump.
Looking out to 2023, SolarPower Europe expects nearly 800 GW to be installed, bringing cumulative capacity at the end of 2023 up to 1.3 TW.
“2018 was a unique year for the entire global solar industry, as we exceeded the magic installation mark of 100 GW per year for the first time, which led the solar power sector to grow to over 500 GW or 0.5 TW,” said Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe.
“Last year, we again saw strong cost improvements with solar becoming the lowest-cost power generation source in more and more regions. At the same time, new applications have quickly progressed, such as floating solar, while corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements have reached a double-digit GW-level, and a market for merchant solar has emerged in several countries.”
“Global solar demand continued to grow last year, as new emerging markets have embraced solar’s attractive business case – a clean, versatile and low-cost power generation source,” said Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe. “This market diversification means interest in solar is rising at a rapid pace.”
“In Europe, we have entered a new era of solar growth and with the recently concluded Clean Energy Package, we have a new framework for solar that will see our technology thrive even more in the coming years. We now look to EU member states to put ambitious solar targets in place and ensure robust implementation guidelines in their 2030 National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs).”
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