Fallout from the global spread of the novel Coronavirus could deliver the “first down year” for global solar growth since at least the 1980s, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has warned, in a report on the likely effects of COVID-19 on the transition to a clean economy.
Bloomberg NEF has cut its global solar demand forecast for 2020 from 121-152GW (in February) to 108-143GW, a 16 per cent change in its midpoint estimate of solar build since Covid-19 “went pandemic.”
The report noted that while Chinese factories had restarted, thus alleviating pressure on the supply of key PV components, concern was increasing around demand as policy makers shifted their attention to “more pressing concerns.”
“As of March 12, 2020, it appears likely that the Coronavirus outbreak will be a significant global crisis, triggering an economic slowdown,” the BNEF report says.
“This could make 2020 the first down year for solar capacity addition since at least the 1980s.”
The news was not quite so grim for the wind energy market, where BNEF said it saw some downside risk to its global forecast of 75.4GW, but still expected a “record year” of growth in installed capacity.
The electric vehicle market and battery demand was also expected to feel the ramifications of COVID-19, with the broader global auto market likely to be “hit hard” by any economic contraction, the report said.
BNEF also noted in the report that the short-term interruption to production in China had highlighted the need for diversified supply chains and strengthened the case for localised manufacturing in countries like Australia, especially for batteries.