A new report from GTM Research has put global solar PV installations for 2015 at a total of 59 gigawatts, a 34 percent increase over the total installed in 2014.
The report, based on preliminary numbers from GTM Research, draws a strong line between solar growth and government policy, pointing to the extension of the US federal Investment Tax Credit in December as a prime example of how a “huge upswing is possible” with government support.
“The fourth quarter of 2015 showed that global PV demand is very much at the mercy of government support, which can often be unpredictable and idiosyncratic, leading to often negative but sometimes positive outcomes,” said Mohit Anand, a senior solar analyst with GTM Research.
According to GTM Research, the US share of expected global PV demand between 2015 and 2020 increased from an average of 10 per cent to 15 per cent due to the ITC extension, even despite a substantial increase in demand expected for the Asia-Pacific region (apart from China) in 2016 and beyond.
On the other hand, FIT pullbacks in Japan, the U.K. and China have tempered expectations, the report said
GTM Research says it expects 64GW of solar PV to be installed globally in 2016, led by the US and China.
The report adds that emerging markets are also expected to play a prominent role, with India becoming more established as a reliable multi-gigawatt market, while Brazil and Mexico will be tested for their ability to meet their ambitions with actual project execution.
Others like the Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh in Asia and Uruguay, Guatemala and Panama in Latin America will move forward and try to break through to 100 megawatts, the report said.
“We also have to keep in mind the importance of COP21 for the diversification of global markets for PV, especially across emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa,” said Anand.
“Many of those countries have pledged substantial goals for deploying renewables and mitigating climate change, and PV is seen as a quick, cost-effective and scalable opportunity within that.”
GTM Research forecasts the cumulative worldwide PV total to reach 321GW by the end of 2016.