Global solar demand in 2018 is expected to reach 105.88 GW, up from roughly 100 GW in 2017, driven by two installation rushes in China and e recovery on the European market.
This is a forecast by EnergyTrend, the green energy research division of Taiwan’s TrendForce. It said today quarterly installations will remain above the 15-GW threshold throughout the year, but the geographic distribution will vary.
China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) at the end of 2017 announced new feed-in tariff (FiT) for 2018, which can be claimed by projects filed after January 1st and completed by the end of the year. The higher 2017 FiT will still be available to projects announced in 2017 and completed by June 30, 2018. Thus, EnergyTrend expect one rush to complete projects by June and a second by December.
The research firm expects total capacity additions in China of 46.7 GW this year, slightly down from the 52.83 GW added in 2017. The projections include ground-mounted solar systems, 5 GW of projects from the Top Runner Program, distributed generation (DG) solar installations, PV Poverty Alleviation projects and more.
In 2017 DG capacity additions jumped to 19 GW from 4.23 GW in 2016. Further growth for DG and PV Poverty Alleviation is expected as the Chinese government is preparing stricter rules for the deployment of large-scale ground-mounted power plants.
Demand in China will slow down between 2018 and 2020, but the projected recovery in Europe will help keep the global solar market above 100 GW, EnergyTrend says. In the second half of 2018, a number of large-scale solar parks in France, the Netherlands and Spain will be completed.
With nearly 53 GW of capacity additions in 2017, China remained the top solar market globally, followed by the US with 12 GW and India with 9.26 GW. Japan is next with 6.09 GW. EnergyTrend estimates that Asia Pacific’s overall market share of global solar demand last year arrived at a record 72%.