Solar PV to 'overtake wind by 2023'

Solar PV capacity will overtake wind within five years, according to a new forecast, but wind power generation will outpace that of solar.

Nearly half of new capacity (48%) to 2028 will be solar PV, while wind will account for 44% of the new build (pic credit: Hero Future Energies)
Nearly half of new capacity (48%) to 2028 will be solar PV, while wind will account for 44% of the new build (pic credit: Hero Future Energies)

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More than 85% of new non-hydropower renewable capacity will be installed in just ten markets, over the next decade, but expansion will also be supported by a broader base of markets, according to a research note by Fitch Solutions and Macro Research.

Capacity

Solar PV is to overtake wind power within five years

Non-hydropower renewable capacity will double between the end of 2018 and 2028, reaching nearly 2.4TW by the end of the period, the researchers forecast.

Nearly half of this new capacity (48%) will be solar PV, while wind will account for 44% of the new build.

In total, more than 675GW of new solar PV will be added in the next decade, compared with 482GW of new wind capacity.

Geography

China is set to dominate renewable installations in the next decade

Ten markets — China, the US, India, Germany, France, Japan, Turkey, the UK, Taiwan, and Brazil — will account for 86% of new capacity added over the next decade, the researchers forecast.

Half of this, nearly 590GW, will be installed in China — the market to have the most new capacity — followed by 12% in the US (140GW) and 10% in India (115GW).

In China, driving down costs will be crucial because the government plans to phase out subsidies in the 2020s, Fitch noted.

However, the researchers believe this will be possible as China can benefit from its "substantial economies of scale".

Lowering costs will also be aided by reduced wastage rates for projects, which will make renewables more attractive investments, Fitch added.

The renewables expansion over the next decade will also take place across a broad base, the researchers added: 44 markets will add more than 1GW, while 79 markets will add more than 100MW.

Generation

Wind will generate more power than solar (left), despite the latter having more installed capacity (right)

Despite solar PV being due to outpace wind power over the next ten years, the latter will generate the most electricity, Fitch predicts.

Wind will generate 50% of all electricity produced by non-hydropower renewables by 2028, while solar will account for 30% of production.

This is also despite improvements in conversion of solar radiation to electricity in recent years, Fitch stated.

Wind power technology has also made steady improvements, the researchers noted, and is theoretically capable of operating 24/7 — depending on weather conditions — while solar PV output is naturally constrained by daylight hours.

More pre-emptive monitoring of wind farms has also enabled reduced downtime for maintenance and increased operational hours, Fitch added.

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