Prospects for solar power are getting brighter as industry’s expansion accelerates

Las perspectivas para solar fotovoltaica son cada vez más brillantes a medida que se acelera la expansión de la industria

The prospects for the global solar PV industry have grown even brighter in early 2021 as industry sentiment improves and policymakers in various regions agree investments and concrete measures to support dramatic growth in renewable energy.

The upbeat outlook emerged in a Global Solar Council survey of its members – made up of national and regional solar associations – as well as leading solar businesses. Preliminary results from the survey show an improving outlook for solar business, with 64% of respondents expecting double-digit sales growth in 2021 compared to 60% who reported such expansion in 2020. The survey also highlighted greater approval of how governments are supporting PV in terms of post-pandemic plans and green recovery policies compared to the support provided in the midst of the health emergency in 2020.

According to International Energy Agency (IEA), the unprecedented current scenario is paving the way for a historically important COP26 meeting: after the pandemic caused the largest drop in global energy demand since World War II (-4% in 2020, with growth coming only from renewables and solar PV in particular) there has been exceptional policy momentum towards the clean energy transition as countries raise emissions reduction targets and plan the largest green stimulus packages in economic history.

The EU solar sector has shown impressive resilience in 2020, despite COVID-19, with 18.2 GW of installations, according to data from Solar Power Europe. As the cheapest electricity source in history, and also the most job-intensive and versatile renewable energy technology, solar is a key enabler for Europe’s Green Recovery and the Green Deal’s climate and energy targets.

The scenario is promising on the U.S as well according to the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). Despite the pandemic and four years of unhelpful federal policies, thanks to increased cost-effectiveness, strong consumer demand, and aggressive state renewable energy targets, 2020 was a banner year for the U.S. renewable sector with almost 19 gigawatts of new solar energy capacity installed. In fact, last year renewable energy was America’s largest source of private sector infrastructure investment.

A significant boost can come from China, as affirmed the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA). Last year China installed more than 48.2GW of solar power, the second-highest level ever, Solar power has produced 3.5% of China’s total power generation and this means it still has a very big potential to develop solar power. Investors see this potential and are putting new money into the industry, so a growing installed capacity in 2021 can help reduce the cost and the price of PV globally.

Despite heterogeneity and different issues in the Latin American region such as financial barriers in Argentina, uncertainty of the legal framework in Mexico, incapacity of going faster than usual in Brazil, and of course the pandemic, in 2021 it’s expecetd a huge growth in several countries. Many PPAs have been signed, calling for bids are happening in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina, we witness huge growth in terms of medium size (200 kW-9 MW) plants especially in Chile, and Costa Rica is the first Latam country to pledge decarbonization by 2030. For the sector to grow faster, some countries need to finalize their decarbonization roadmaps to let foreign investors understand what is happening in the coming 10 years.

Source: Solar Power Europe