Despite the uncertainty and price fluctuations in the global solar industry, the demand for solar photovoltaic continued to grow in 2018, reaching the long-awaited milestone of 10 billion watts of annual installed capacity.
Edurne Zoco, Director of Solar Research at IHS Markit, said: "With the increasingly fierce competition between solar energy and traditional power generation resources, companies are investing in the renewable energy industry in a way that is driven by growing revenue opportunities and pressure to improve sustainability.
Solar energy and other renewable energy sources also play a crucial role in the decentralization and digitization of power systems, known as the 'energy transformation', which is currently being discussed by many governments and other institutions
Recently, IHS Markit released the "2019 Photovoltaic Industry Forecast White Paper", revealing eight important trends that will drive the photovoltaic market in 2019.
1. The global photovoltaic installed capacity will resume double-digit growth, and the installed capacity in the fourth quarter of 2019 will reach a record level. This year will see an increase in the installed capacity of photovoltaic power generation in all six regions of the world since 2011. The economies of Europe, the Middle East, North America, South and Central America, Africa, and the Asia Pacific region will grow by 18% year-on-year.
2. In 2019, the photovoltaic demand in Europe will recover to the level of 2012, and the region will install 18GW of photovoltaic projects in this year, which is a milestone that has not been achieved since 2012. With the increasing opportunities to sign private purchase agreements (PPAs), increasingly attractive economic entities are helping to reignite the European photovoltaic market.
3. Renovation of old power stations and enhancement of power generation. With the aging of European infrastructure, the renovation and re supply of photovoltaic power stations will become increasingly important. By the beginning of 2019, there will be over 40GW of photovoltaic systems in Europe with a lifespan of over 6 years. Since the construction of these power plants, technological costs have significantly decreased, so upgrading old photovoltaic power plants to increase their production is becoming increasingly common.
4. China's policy decisions will continue to influence the global trend of photovoltaic technology, promoting the development of the domestic market towards affordable online access. It is estimated that China's photovoltaic module production accounted for 65% of the global total in 2018, and its installed capacity accounted for 41% of the global total. Therefore, China clearly determines the supply-demand balance of the industry. This trend will be more evident in 2019 than ever before, as the industry is waiting for the release of China's cutting-edge subsidy policies to determine its development situation this year.
5. Energy storage batteries exceeding 500 megawatt hours (MWh) will be applied to solar power plants on a utility scale in North America. The combination of intermittent renewable energy and energy storage has long been considered the key to providing scalable, schedulable, and clean energy. In 2019, the first batch of meaningful systems of this type will be put into use, mainly concentrated in North America.
6. The diversification of photovoltaic inverter suppliers will continue as they continue to struggle with stagnant revenue. With the continued price pressure and fierce competition, photovoltaic inverter suppliers will expand to different neighboring industries.
7. As the market share of products continues to increase, the competition for 400 watt photovoltaic modules will intensify. Solar photovoltaic power generation has become a more competitive energy source, as the average price of solar modules has decreased by more than 80% in the past decade. The increase in these costs is attributed to the continuous improvement in battery and component efficiency, which has increased by approximately 25% over the same period.
8. The digitization of the power grid continues to be a major trend in the power and solar industries. IHS Markit predicts that by 2019, an average of 30000 new photovoltaic inverters will be delivered for use every day, reaching 11 million units throughout the year, all of which will be connected to intelligent interconnection platforms.