Australia and India helped make up for Chinese solar retreat last year

The world had more than half a terawatt of PV generation capacity at the end of last year as emerging solar markets picked up the slack caused by Beijing’s subsidy about-turn to the tune of a 20% rise in installations outside China.

India may have been the largest emerging PV market last year but there is little doubt over which nation the Photovoltaic Power Systems Program’s latest report considered the star of 2018.

The International Energy Agency-run research program said PV installation “increased spectacularly” in Australia to almost 3.8 GW last year, contributing to a 20% rise in new solar generation capacity added outside China in 2018.

The retreat of new solar capacity in China – the world’s biggest market – to 45 GW was compensated for by a rise in most other emerging markets as the world saw a modest, 900 MW rise in new PV installations from 98.9 GW in 2017 to 99.8 GW last year.

Indian summer

With the U.S. and Japan seeing similar figures to 2017, India was highlighted as the biggest emerging PV market in a Photovoltaic Power Systems Program (IEA PVPS) report, with 10.8 GW of new capacity. Mexico installed almost 2.7 GW of new solar and South Korea 2 GW, according to the Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic Markets 2018 figures.

The report stated Europe also saw growth, driven chiefly by its German and Dutch solar engine, as did the Middle East and Africa, with the latter two markets to see even more capacity added this year as big projects come online in the UAE and Egypt.

The additions seen last year took cumulative global solar capacity past the 500 GW mark with the IEA PVPS report stating: “In 2018, PV was the first electricity source in capacity deployed globally”.

The researchers added, there are even brighter prospects for solar this year, thanks tofalling battery costs and the imminent electric vehicle revolution.

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