A Rosy Global Solar Forecast

Bright with occasional periods of heavy record-breaking. 

That’s the global forecast for solar energy in 2018. Renewable energy plans initiated several years ago are now coming to fruition, new infrastructure is being rushed into commission and experts are bracing for dramatically increased world demand.

It’s the perfect storm for what is expected to be the biggest year for renewable energy ever, especially solar, which is expected to maintain its title as the world’s fastest-growing source of power.

IHS Markit, a leading, London-based analytics provider serving the aerospace, defense, automotive, chemical and energy industries, predicts that solar power installations will hit 108 GW by the end of the year – the first time that worldwide installations have topped 100 GW during a calendar year. Demand from China, the USA and India continues to drive this growth as the three giants increasingly look toward a distributed energy resource (DER) system that supplements the traditional power grid with solar and other renewable sources.

Of course, these are “officially” reported installation numbers. The actual number of solar facilities being built and commissioned around the world is likely higher.

A look beyond the perineal solar power players shows the global solar production map to be shifting. In its annual Global Solar Demand Monitor, GTM Research predicts that a most-ever 13 countries will install at least 1 GW of solar power in 2018 – up from just eight countries in 2017. Four of these five newest solar heavyweights – Spain, the Netherlands, Mexico and Brazil – are from Europe and Latin America, signaling both regions’ emergence in the solar race.

While China continues to lead overall solar production growth, Latin America is close behind in year-over-expansion, which is expected to top 100 percent in 2018.

Shaking off a significant dip in the mid-2000s, Europe is also dramatically increasing its solar installations in 2018 driven by an expected 40-percent increase in demand across the Continent. Spain, alone, will boost its solar generation in 2018 from 0.4 GW to 1.4 GW — a 250-percent increase.  Key to this European growth is that it comes as subsidies are gradually being phased out, suggesting solar power’s ability to compete with coal and nuclear solely on cost, benefits and long-term value.

Certainly, the advent of increasingly advanced solar technologies like High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) will speed global adoption to the point that solar becomes the lowest cost-per-watt energy alternative for all countries.

This increasingly pro-solar global climate is best summed-up by Scott Jacobs of Generate Capital: “Renewable energy is not an alternative technology; it is now the dominant source of new energy generation capacity.” 

We at CSDR International wholeheartedly agree.


Leslie Gomez