Global solar PV installations will reach a new high of 114.5 gigawatts in 2019, up 17.5 percent over 2018.
According to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables' new report, Global Solar PV Market Outlook Update: Q2 2019, the market is now back on a strong growth trajectory after a slowdown in 2018. Annual installations are expected to rise to around 125 gigawatts per year by the early 2020s.
Global growth will continue despite a gradual decline in China, the world's largest PV market. The Chinese market peaked at 53 gigawatts in 2017, driven by generous feed-in tariffs. We anticipate that a move toward more competitive procurement of solar PV will lead to more sustainable annual additions of 30 to 40 gigawatts.
Global PV market continues to diversify rapidly
Countries installing between 1 to 5 gigawatts annually will be the market's growth engine. In 2018, there were seven such markets. By 2022, we forecast that there will be 19, with new names added to the list including Saudi Arabia, France and Taiwan.
Number of Markets by Annual Solar Capacity Installed, 2010-2024E
In India, auction activity is starting to recover after a slowdown caused by land and transmission constraints. In the U.S., announcements of new state utility integrated resource plans, in Florida for example, are good news for the solar PV market.
The European market will grow strongly as policy-driven markets look to deliver on 2020 and 2030 renewable energy targets.
In Latin America, Brazil looks to be the most exciting market of the moment, with both auctioned power-purchase agreements with distributors and free market contracts with large consumers on offer.
In the Middle East, all eyes are on the upcoming 1.5-gigawatt auction in Saudi Arabia, which is set to be extremely competitive.
China's first solar PV auction
China recently announced the results of its first solar PV auction which resulted in a staggering 22.8 gigawatts of projects being awarded contracts. Awarded projects are intended to be connected by the end of 2019, facing tariff cuts for any delays. This is by far the world's largest completed auction, with the next largest being the award of 3.9 gigawatts of solar PV in Spain during July 2017.
In June's A-4 auction, Enerlife/Lightsource BP was awarded a contract for the 2,020 MW Milagres project for just $16.95/MWh — $2/MWh lower than the $18.93/MWh awarded in 2017 to Neoen's Pachamama PV project in Mexico.
Auctions will remain the driver of growth in many global PV markets. We expect to see 90 gigawatts of solar PV projects awarded contracts through auctions in 2019, up from 81 gigawatts in 2018.
Download the free executive summary here.