By Anthony Capkun
July 10, 2013 – Following years of oversupply and unsustainable, often artificially low module pricing, 2013 is expected to be the year that the global solar photovoltaic (PV) market begins to stabilize, says a new report from Navigant Research.
“Financial incentives, government renewable energy deployment targets, and technology cost reduction are still the most important drivers of the solar PV market,” said Dexter Gauntlett, research analyst with Navigant. “In most cases, these renewable energy deployment and cost reduction targets will be met or exceeded, with 438GW of solar PV installed cumulatively between 2013 and 2020. By the end of 2020, solar PV is expected to be cost-competitive with retail electricity prices, without subsidies, in a significant portion of the world.”
Several emerging trends will shape the trajectory of the global solar PV market over the next several years, according to the “Solar PV Market Forecasts” report. Utility-scale solar PV power plants are coming online while lower system prices are opening up new markets for distributed PV, and helping the technology reach grid parity more quickly in high-cost retail electricity markets.
In distributed solar PV markets, innovative financing options are making the technology available to more homeowners and commercial property owners, the report finds. At the same time, many countries have retooled their financial incentives, often placing greater emphasis on onsite generation “to prevent an overheated market”. As a result, many companies see 2017 (the year after solar PV investment tax credits are reduced to 10% in the United States) as the year that solar PV will be able to stand on its own without subsidies in most major markets.