Over 30% of utility-scale renewable projects globally between 2013 and 2023 were solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, according to a new report from the Energy Industries Council (EIC), an energy trade association.
The global solar insights report also shows that current global utility-scale PV capacity is around 154 GW. The cost of solar is a key driver of industry investment, with the levelized cost of electricity of newly operational utility-scale solar PV projects declining by 88% between 2010 and 2021 on a global average, says the report.
Solar PV’s versatility has also contributed to its popularity, as it can be installed on rooftops, floating or ground-mounted. Once intermittency issues are solved through energy storage, solar PV can enhance grid capacity, especially in poorly connected areas, according to the report.
“China is still dominating the global solar PV supply chain, leaving regions like Europe heavily reliant on low-cost Chinese imports,” says Rebecca Groundwater, EIC’s head of external affairs. “But Russia’s war on Ukraine coupled with forced labor concerns and logistics disruptions during COVID-19 highlighted the risks of relying on imports. In the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act is expected to give domestic manufacturing a boost. As a result, we could see a real opportunity for first movers in the solar supply chain throughout Europe and the Americas.”
While some regions have been slower to adopt solar PV technology, major investments are being funneled into the industry to ensure renewable energy goals can be achieved. According to EICDataStream, North America and Europe have the highest number of projects. The Biden administration aims to reach 40% electricity demand with solar power by 2035, and the Inflation Reduction Act provides tax credits and incentives for renewable energy adoption.
Spain is also a leading market for solar PV globally, contributing to the European Commission’s increased renewable energy target of 45% by 2030, according to the report. The region is responding to the energy crisis as a result of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The Asia Pacific region is at the forefront in terms of estimated capacity, with India alone having over 120 GW of solar PV capacity planned or in development. India has announced plans for 500 GW of total non-fossil capacity and net-zero emissions by 2070.
Read the report here.