GTM Research: Global solar market to top 104 GW this year

The solar PV landscape in 2018 will continue to grow and will continue to be dominated by the same handful of massive markets, albeit a broader geographical spread of installations are expected this year, finds the latest Global Solar Demand Monitor from GTM Research.

The analysts expect cumulative global capacity to grow 6% on last year, reaching 104 GW – topping the 100 GW-mark easily each year through 2022 – but perhaps the most eye-catching projection is the forecast of a 7% decline among the top four solar markets of China, the U.S., India and Japan.

This means that solar installation growth is poised to be far greater in less heralded markets, ushering in a broader geographic diversity for the industry.

GTM’s report forecasts that China will install 48 GW of new PV capacity this year, which – while accounting for 47% of global demand in 2018 – is poised to be below the 53 GW added in 2017. Of this 48 GW figure, more than half is set to be derived from distributed generation (DG) projects, which for the purposes of the report accounts for solar arrays less than 20 MW in size; so still potentially sizeable.

Solar growth in the U.S. and India, meanwhile, will be hampered by trade restrictive measures warns GTM Research solar analyst Rishab Shrestha. “Although the availability of tariff-free modules in the U.S. and the announcement that compensation will be provided to Indian developers negatively impacted by changes to tariffs and duties provides some encouragement,” Shrestha suggested.

The report expects annual PV installations to reach 10.6 GW in the U.S. and a rather conservative 7.1 GW in India. It is a similar picture in Japan, where around 7 GW of new capacity is expected.

By region, Latin America will add 5.6 GW of new PV capacity this year, which represents an annual increase of 61%, the report finds, will the MENA region is forecast to expand by a massive 281%, reaching 4.7 GW of new solar capacity in 2018.

As a result of this growth, by Egypt and Brazil are poised to become GW-scale markets in 2018. Joining this exclusive club are likely to be Spain – which last topped 1 GW of new PV in a single year in 2008 – and France.