Ten years ago...
Ten years ago the global PV market was around 200 MW. Currently, that is what is being installed in Germany alone in less than 2 weeks….For the year 2010, the newly installed volume is forecasted to be around 12,000 MW. That is a multiple of 60 times in 10 years. Big companies, and none of them were Chinese, were producing like 20 MW per year in 2000. Ten years ago it was predicted that with an average of 30% market growth per year, in 2010 the installed volume would be around 4,000 MW per year. Instead, in reality, we are now facing 3 times that amount….
Ten years from now
Now, let’s take a snapshot of how the solar pv market and industry will look like in 2020…
For households, solar electricity generated from your own roof is cheaper than electricity from the grid in the USA and all Southern European countries. And even in the ‘rainy’ Northern European Belgium and The Netherlands. Of course, without any subsidy or Feed-in Tariff. FiT programs do not exist anymore. ‘Grid parity’ is an old fashioned word. Now the trend is ‘cheap solar’. The market showed a CAGR of 30% since 2010. The global annual market volume is around 140 Gigawatt, which is more than 10 times the figure of 2010. But that was long time ago, when pv was still a tiny energy source. The revenue pool is now over 200 billion euro per year and millions of people are working in solar.
India and China doing 8 to 10 GWp per year
In ‘history’, PV was still heavily subsidized and completely reliant of Germany. Things are different these days. The German market is not yet saturated, but the best roofs in the country are full with panels. All new buildings have PV integrated. Architects start their design with a optimal roof for solar pv generation. Currently, the biggest growth markets however are USA, Southern Europe, the Middle East and Northern African countries. And of course Asia. India and China are huge and booming markets. Each around 8,000 to 10,000 MegaWatt per year. Hundreds of multi MegaWatt power plants and several plants each hundreds of MegaWatt in size are built this year. All countries without fossil fuel resources are switching to solar. No other energy source is so predictable in terms of cost per kWh in the sunny regions. Investors do not trust coal and other fossil energy sources. The cost of ‘ old fashioned’ polluting fossil kWh’s is unpredictable and high due to carbon taxation.
The leading manufacturers produce 15 GWp per year
The sunny North African countries are building GigaWatt scale PV power plants, preparing for supply of cheap energy to Southern Europe via High Voltage connection lines through the Mediterranean Sea. Standard crystalline solar cells and modules are so cheap, that the solar industry, besides producing large volumes for utility scale pv power plants, is working on high profile products for optimal building integration. Nowadays, leading manufacturers, all from China, are producing 15,000 MegaWatt per year.
Europe is focusing on building integrated products
Residential customers and the building industry are now only interested in good looking products, which, by culture and tradition, vary per country. Cells are shipped around the world in huge quantities and assembled into building products and solutions in each market. A new industry in Europe has emerged around building products based on solar cells. Red and pink modules are doing very well in Italy, Spain and Portugal these days, fitting perfectly on traditional terracotta roofs. Black modules are a hit in Northern Europe. Booming is the market of energy storage systems and smart grids. And of course all technology combining electric car charging systems and solar energy production.
GW scale power plants are built in 2 years...
Nowadays, GW scale pv plants can be built within 2 years. That is the reason that Energy utilities like them so much. And of course because the production cost per kWh are so predictable and the O&M cost are so low. The global industry is positive about its future for the next decade and is predicting further growth of at least 25% per year. The forecasts are that around 2030, the annual market volume will reach 1,000 GigaWatt. Impressive, but still tiny compared to the potential addressable market volume as the global electricity demand is still increasing. And, let's face it: even at this impressive growth rate, solar PV is not even able to cover only the growth of the global electricity demand...Let's get back to 2010 and agree to talk again on 20 sep 2020 to evaluate if I was too pessimistic.