A top executive from one of the world’s biggest solar manufacturers and project developers, Canadian Solar, has forecast that all new large-scale solar farms being proposed for construction in Australia over the coming five years will include an element of storage.
Thomas Koerner, Canadian Solar’s corporate vice president made the bold prediction during a utility-scale webinar hosted by the Smart Energy Council on Wednesday, when asked about the outlook for the large-scale PV industry after a particularly difficult 2020.
Koerner told SEC chief John Grimes that Canadian Solar was “super optimistic” and “super positive” about the near-term outlook for the industry, largely due to the “all time low” cost of solar electricity.
But Koerner also noted a change in the way solar power was being valued, overall, “as an integrated part of the entire energy soltuion.” And he said these changing values were guiding the way forward for the industry.
“We have understood that going with the cheapest EPC and executing these projects may not be the most smartest … way to do it,” he told the webinar. “So I think the market has educated itself … strongly.”
“We are seeing that a more government-driven value of solar is being understood,” Koerner added. “That is, as an integrated part of the entire energy solution. It’s not the only part, but a very important part of it.
“And last but not least, what we are seeing is a significant impact and influence now of what storage is able to provide and to do [when combined with solar].
“For the next five years, you will not see any utility-scale project anymore without storage combined [with] it,” he told the webinar. “It will go hand in hand. And gladly, storage costs have also come down significantly.
“Canadian Solar, as we speak today, is constructing and executing hundreds of megawatt-hours of PV plus storage projects already here in the US. It will happen in Australia, as well… It will make solar even more competitive. I’m very, very positive about what we’re going to see moving forward,” Koener said.