The global solar photovoltaic market size is estimated to grow from USD 79.6 billion in 2021 to USD 129.86 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 8.5% from 2021 to 2027. The pressing need for alternative sources of power generation is increasing throughout the world on account of the detrimental environmental impact of fossil fuel power generation. Solar power generation has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years on account of associated environmental benefits and the government’s policy to penetrate clean power generation in the energy mix.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is entering a new era and accounts for the most significant annual capacity additions for renewables, well above wind and hydro, for the next five years. The continuous technology cost reductions and the increasing growth in China, owing to policy changes and the growing focus on achieving various capacity targets, are expected to contribute to the increase in the solar PV market during the forecast period.
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Wind and solar PV power are expected to drive the strong growth in renewable energy, while hydro is likely to remain a key source. Solar and wind together are expected to produce more than 50% of the total generation in Australia, Germany, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. By 2050, solar PV, wind, and hydro are estimated to produce approximately 80% of the global electricity generation. Furthermore, globally, the shift towards renewables, such as solar and wind, is primarily due to the plummeting costs in recent years.
Global Solar Photovoltaic Market Dynamics
Drivers: Declining costs of solar PV system
The solar industry has cut costs dramatically in the past six years through economies of scale. As the market was flooded with equipment, prices plummeted. The cost of solar panels is dropping exponentially.
The cost reductions are driven by continuous technological improvements, including higher solar PV module efficiencies. The industrialization of these highly modular technologies has yielded impressive benefits from economies of scale and greater competition to improved manufacturing processes and competitive supply chains. The overall decline in the solar PV system costs can also be attributed to the effective feed-in tariff programs in Germany, etc.
Rapid declines in installed costs and high capacity factors have improved the economic competitiveness of solar PV around the world. The global weighted average LCOE of utility-scale PV plants is estimated to have fallen by 73% between 2010 and 2017, from around USD 0.36 to USD 0.10/kWh.
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The LCOE of solar PV plants is currently below coal-fired plants for new generation build and is projected to undercut a typical combined-cycle gas turbine in the next five years. Thus, the improved cost-effectiveness associated with batteries or modules is expected to benefit the utility solar PV market on a larger scale.
Restraints: High initial cost of investments required
Although the cost of producing photovoltaic devices continues to fall across the globe, the rate of solar PV adoption is not as rapid as expected. Although there are numerous socio-technical and regional policy challenges in place, the economic factor of the high initial cost of investments required to set up a solar PV plant acts as a significant restraint. Apart from the costs of the solar PV modules, expenses such as high installation cost, operation cost, maintenance and repair costs, and the low costs of competing sources of energy also add to the cost of investments required for solar PV installations. Installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) array is not only an environmental-specific decision but also a financial decision as well. Irrespective of the decreasing cost of equipment, the cost of permits and labor and the installation of solar PV with challenging and complex orientation adds a great deal to the final installation costs.
Opportunities: Hybrid solar
Although the market for solar power is already growing exponentially with increasing environmental awareness and favorable government policies, there has been a constant debate over the reliability and stability of solar energy, mainly due to lack of irradiation at night or on overcast cloudy days. With the continuous increase in power requirements and environmental policies and regulations getting stricter, discouraging the use of conventional fuel for power generation, the need for environmentally friendly power solutions with reliable power performance is increasing. Furthermore, numerous regions across the globe, particularly in remote areas, cannot be sufficiently supplied by large, central power plants, and hence, have become dependent on distributed power generation.
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The usage of hybrid solar power plants, which were initially developed as energy systems that combine conventional fuels, such as diesel with solar power, solar PV, and solar CSP technologies, has gained momentum. The main advantages of solar PV-engine hybrid power plants are their ability to achieve the same reliability and stability as a standard thermal plant, making them an exciting solution for small grids and island mode or off-grid locations. Furthermore, stand-alone solar PV systems and stand-alone wind power systems are widely famous in individual terms for power generation in an environmentally friendly manner. However, both independent power sources have restrictions and cannot provide a continuous source of energy. Integrated renewables-based hybrid power systems, i.e., integration of wind and solar PV systems, are also expected to gain enormous momentum in the forecast period.
Scope of the Report
The global solar photovoltaic market has been segmented into technology, deployment, grid type, end user, and regions.
By Technology Outlook (Capacity (MW), Revenue, 2017-2027, USD Million)
- Monocrystalline Silicon
- Polycrystalline Silicon
- Thin Film
By Deployment Outlook (Capacity (MW), Revenue, 2017-2027, USD Million)
- Rooftop Solar
By Grid Type Outlook (Capacity (MW), Revenue, 2017-2027, USD Million)
By End User Outlook (Capacity (MW), Revenue, 2017-2027, USD Million)
- Commercial and Industrial (C&I)
By Region Outlook (Capacity (MW), Revenue, 2017-2027, USD Million)
- North America (US, Canada, Mexico)
- South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Rest of Latin America)
- Europe (Germany, Italy, France, UK, Spain, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Rest of Europe)
- Asia Pacific (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia & New Zealand, Rest of Asia Pacific)
- The Middle East & Africa (Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Africa, Northern Africa, Rest of MEA)
The crystalline silicon segment of the solar photovoltaic market is projected to account for the largest share by technology
Based on the technology, the solar photovoltaic market has been segmented into monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, thin film, and others. The monocrystalline silicon segment accounted for the largest share of 54.34% of the global solar photovoltaic market in 2020.
Crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules are built using crystalline silicon solar cells, which are developed using microelectronics technology. The two types of crystalline silicon solar cells used in crystalline silicon photovoltaic are – monocrystalline silicon and polycrystalline silicon. The first is monocrystalline, produced by slicing wafers from a high-purity single crystal boule. The second is polycrystalline, made by sawing a cast block of silicon first into bars and then into wafers. The record lab cell efficiency is 24.4% for monocrystalline and 19.9% for polycrystalline silicon modules. Therefore, monocrystalline silicon solar cells offer higher efficiencies than polycrystalline silicon solar modules. The primary trend in crystalline silicon cell manufacturing involves a shift toward polycrystalline technology. Over the last decade, polycrystalline silicon wafer-based technology has been dominating the solar market.
Asia Pacific accounts for the highest CAGR during the forecast period in the solar photovoltaic market
Based on the regions, the global solar photovoltaic market has been segmented across North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, South America, and the Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific has the highest market growth rate at a CAGR of 45.10% in the global solar photovoltaic market, throughout the forecast period, followed by North America and Europe. Four main countries, namely, China, India, Japan, and the Rest of Asia-Pacific, are analyzed in Asia-Pacific. China accounted for a significant share of this market in 2020, and India is expected to experience rapid growth during the forecast period.
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China has installed solar panels on land and floating on the water, with a total capacity of 40 MW in 2017, producing enough energy to cater to around 15,000 homes, showcasing its commitment to renewable energy. A 150 MW floating solar farm is expected to come online by May 2018 and power almost 94,000 homes. In India, the government has increased funding available to the renewables sector and allocated concentrated development zones for solar power facilities (Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects – UMSPP) to de-risk project development by driving down the implementation time and cost of projects. Australia is a country that has one of the highest average solar radiation per square meter, one of the highest per capita consumption of residential rooftop solar, and leading solar PV technology in the world. Still, it lags behind the rest of the world in terms of mid-scale and large-scale solar development. Thailand is witnessing an increase in energy demand, coupled with increasing reliance on non-indigenous sources of energy. The country’s existing oil & gas resources are expected to deplete within the next decade. South Korea has set a target of a 37% reduction in CO2 emission by 2030 under the Paris Agreement 2015. To meet the target, all the power plants are required to decrease CO2 emission by 40% and 58% by 2022 and 2030. The government is planning to suspend five old coal-fired power plants between March and June 2018.
Key Market Players
The solar photovoltaic market is mildly concentrated in nature with few numbers global players operating in the market such as Canadian Solar Inc., First Solar Inc., JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd, Trina Solar Ltd, SunPower Corporation, JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd., Hanwha Q Cells Co Ltd, Suntech Power Holding Co. Ltd, JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd., Sharp Corporation, and others. These players have been adopting various winning strategies to gain higher shares or retain leading positions in the market.
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