Graphs of the Day: The big boom in solar PV is yet to come | RenewEconomy

Graphs of the Day: The big boom in solar PV is yet to come

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Boom in solar PV has been one of most defining developments in energy industry in past five years. But it has only scratched the surface.

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The so-called boom in solar PV has been one of the most defining developments in the energy industry in the last five years. But it has only just begun.

As this graph – taken from a recent presentation from Canadian Solar shows-  it is just a scratch on the surface of the global energy industry, accounting for just 0.5 per cent of electricity generated in 2014, even with 183,000MW of solar PV installed.

But over the next 15 years, the market for solar PV will grow 10 times again, with accumulated capacity jumping to 1,835,000MW, according to Canadian Solar. That will account for more than 10 per cent of total electricity generated across the globe. (Please click on graph to enlarge).

canadian installations


In some countries, solar PV is already accounting for more substantial percentages – Italy 9 per cent and Germany 5.3 per cent are the standouts. The 3.6GW capacity in Australia looks six months out of date, and others have estimated the contribution of Australia’s 4.2GW of rooftop solar at more than 2 per cent (in Australia self consumption is not metered, which may explain the discrepancy).

canadian global installations

This third graph shows the estimated growth in annual installations over the next eight years, with the biggest country markets over the next five. China will emerge as the dominant market, closely followed by Japan and the US, with India and then Germany.

canadian country


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  1. john 5 years ago

    As predicted solar will grow and every study just underlines the fact.
    Now that storage is coming into the picture even more growth in this sector is guaranteed, a win for all in society.

    • Jacob 5 years ago

      Cannot wait till huts in Africa and Asia get solar PV.

      • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

        It’s happening. Micro solar is taking off. Bangladesh now has over 3 million micro-solar systems installed and other countries are following their lead.

        • john 5 years ago

          very true bob and in fact one of the first solar panel makers could not understand how come they had orders in countries with low infrastructure support but in fact what was happening was the panels were being used to power basic support in remote areas I am talking about Sun above the Horizon the book
          by Peter F. Varadi no doubt you have read it and if not please do.

      • Barri Mundee 5 years ago

        Huts in Africa are much more likely to get solar over than coal fired power delivered via the traditional grid.

  2. Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

    My guess is that this is yet one more prediction that under estimates how fast solar will grow.

    • suthnsun 5 years ago

      25% pa will just about do.. ( rather than 15) it gives us a remote chance of maintaining some semblance of civilization..

    • Edward Borland 5 years ago

      Some much more room for innovation in new technologies that will play a part in the future that aren’t part of that estimate, like perovskite.

  3. Jacob 5 years ago

    Why the hell are China and India the same color?

    Bloody ridiculous.

    • Diego Matter 5 years ago

      buy a better screen that shows different colours like mine does…

      • Jacob 5 years ago

        What is the color for India and what is the color for China then?

        • nakedChimp 5 years ago

          China (R/G/B: 248/183/51)
          India (R/G/B: 247/205/54)
          So yeah, Diegos screen either costs a LOT of money or he’s got very good eyes 😉
          India is a little bit brighter for me, but very similar. Luckily they got flags besides the bars..

          • Diego Matter 5 years ago

            A laptop does the trick, but the flag are even handier 😉

    • Barri Mundee 5 years ago

      Yes agree the colours for China and India are very close and thus hard to differentiate.

    • Ian 5 years ago

      Fortunately they are sepparated by red, pink and grey.

  4. Ian 5 years ago

    This forecast, like many others, projects a falling CAGR for solar PV. It seems like, if anything, it should have a rising CAGR as its cost is now falling through levels where it is becoming increasingly economic in more places and applications. It seems like its growth rate should be accelerating, not slowing.

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