Global solar market has record 2016, but shows signs of a slowdown – 2016 was a record year for global solar installations. Although final numbers are still being tallied, estimates suggest a number around 76,000 MW (or 76 GW). China drove the train, with 22 GW in the first half of the year before stalling out in the second half. The U.S. also had a solid year, with around 14 GW. However, both of these key markets show signs of slowing in 2017, with the total global market retrenching to perhaps around 70 GW. China will scale back owing to a reduction in feed-in tariffs (the guaranteed price paid for solar output). For its part, the U.S. is expected to see a hangover as a consequence of the late 2015 extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit, which resulted in developers jamming projects into 2016 to beat a deadline which was then extended. So 2017 U.S. installations will fall off somewhat.
India picking up speed – By contrast, India is set to emerge as the next solar market superpower. The country already lays claim to the largest solar farm in the world – a 648 MW plant covering 10 square kilometers (over 3.5 square miles) and includes 2.5 million modules. Mercom Capital Group, which tracks India closely (along with the global solar market), reported in December that the country installed 4 GW in 2016, and is on track to add another 9 GW this year. When that 9 GW is connected to the grid, solar will make up slightly less than 6% of India’s total nameplate capacity. (Solar also made up 16.7% of new generation added in the first eight months of FY 2016). Read More…
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