Next generation opportunities in utility-scale solar
From fringe to mainstream: Utility-scale solar is winning the cost race
The solar industry is steaming ahead, and 2016 was another record year with a global market of around 74 GW installed, up 30% from 2015. The current projection is that the total installed capacity will more than double from today’s 320 GW to some 680 GW by 2020 (21% annual growth), and reach 1,300 GW by 2025. At this rate, solar will overtake wind by 2020 in terms of annual capacity added, and by 2022 have more total capacity installed. Solar will then be placed right at the top across all energy sources in terms of new capacity added, representing a third of all new capacity in 2020. Remarkably, 80% of all new capacity in California in 2016 was solar energy (39% for the US as a whole), 28% in China and 15% in Germany. Still, solar’s share of global power production is only around 1%. In leading markets like Germany, it is around 7%, while in California – a major solar market – the share is now 13%.
Utility-scale solar is a segment dominated by the standard multicrystalline technology, typically deployed in 20-100 MW ground-mount projects, followed by monocrystalline and thin film. The other solar technologies deployed in utility projects are concentrated high-efficiency PV (CPV) and concentrated solar power that converts heat into steam (CSP). These technologies require high levels of direct solar irradiation (ideally desert conditions), which limits their market adoption, and these technologies have also struggled to bring down costs as fast as standard PV due to the smaller volumes deployed (~2%).
Over-investment in the Norwegian power grid
How can regulators, grid companies and other players in the energy sector think in new ways to make better investments in the future? QVARTZ’ recent white paper discusses power grid investments in the light of the future energy landscape and how trends within technology, regulation and consumer behaviour affect Norwegian utility companies.
European onshore wind – winning in a new landscape
For quite some time, Europe has been an attractive geography for onshore wind installations. The onshore wind market is expected to continue to grow in Europe towards 2020 – but even though the market is attractive, growth has plateaued during the last three years. Future installations are expected to come from new markets in addition to old ones, with further opportunities emerging in the service markets. Players in the wind value chain need to understand how to adapt to the changing policies, markets and site availability in order to stay in the game. In our newly published white paper, we take a closer look at the dynamics that are shaping the new demands.