A new Mercom Capital Group report anticipates that solar power will break previous records in 2016 as it has for the past decade. The report found that in 2016 the world will install roughly 66.7 gigawatts of new solar power. That’s up from 57.8 gigawatts of solar power installed in 2015 and up from Mercom’s expectations earlier this year of 64.7 gigawatts.
Four countries will lead the world in new solar installations in 2016: China, the U.S., Japan and India—in that order. China is expected to lead the way with 18.5 gigawatts of new solar power coming online in 2016, the U.S. will follow with 13.5 gigawatts, Japan following the U.S. with 10.5 gigawatts and India following Japan with more than 4 gigawatts being installed in 2016. Notably, just about five years ago European countries including Germany, Italy and Spain were leading the world with new solar power installations. Now they have fallen behind as demand elsewhere has grown.
“Solar installations are forecasted to grow year-over-year globally despite recent headwinds in the sector with solar stocks, yieldcos, bankruptcies and the negative perception surrounding solar public companies. Solar has grown from just 2.6 GW in 2007 to a forecasted 66.7 GW in 2016 showing impressive resiliency along the way as it becomes one of the fastest growing new generation sources around the world,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group.
Looking a little closer at China it’s already well on its way to another record-breaking year—last year it led the world in solar installations with 15.1 gigawatts of new solar power brought online. Mercom reported that in the first quarter of 2016 the country already installed 7.14 gigawatts of solar power brought online. “The additional 5.3 GW installation quota combined with the expected rush to meet FiT [i.e., feed-in tariff] deadlines in the first half of the year should help China exceed 2015 installation numbers,” Mercom said. It explained further that based on different regions, China’s FiT will be reduced by up to 11 percent.
Meanwhile in the U.S. the unexpected extension of the U.S. Investment Tax Credit (ITC) last December is actually slowing down new solar installations in the states. Still, Mercom is conservatively estimating that the U.S. will install 13.5 gigawatts of solar power this year. Originally it was anticipated that the U.S. would install more solar power in 2016 to beat deadlines of the ITC’s expiration. Now, “Vendors are indicating a slower first quarter—at least in terms of new projects—as developers are taking their time to line up suppliers and negotiate contracts,” Mercom reported.
Japan’s solar development industry may struggle in 2016 a little as its FiT was reduced by 11 percent in March, according to Mercom. It added, “Japan continues to struggle with grid connection, curtailment issues, and an undeveloped pipeline.” Only about 15 percent of Japan’s estimated 2016 is now installed.
India is a market on a growth path. While it’s expected to install 4 gigawatts of solar power in 2016 it has a pipeline of over 21 gigawatts of solar projects under development and in pending auctions. The country’s goal is to install 100 gigawatts by 2022, Mercom said.Tweet