2017 marked a milestone for the photovoltaics industry. For the first time, the solar capacity installed around the world exceeded 100 GW. And industry experts anticipate deployment to reach as much as 110 GW this year. Asia has become the most dynamic photovoltaics market. Last year, the continent’s share of global sales reached around 70%, driven primarily by developments in China, India and Japan. The second-largest share has meanwhile been taken by the USA.
As the markets grow, they are also becoming self-sustaining. They are no longer driven by subsidies, but instead by the improved competitiveness of photovoltaics. This can be attributed to the decreasing price of solar modules, which has fallen by over 80% in the last 15 years. In Germany, for example, the average price in tenders for solar parks fell below 4 euro cents per kWh in February for the first time. In Chile, Dubai, Peru and Saudi Arabia, solar power has already been offered at less than 2.5 euro cents per kWh in tenders for large PV parks.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), electricity production costs for large solar installations have fallen by 73% worldwide since 2010. The market researchers at Bloomberg New Energy Finance have found that solar power is already at least as cheap as coal in Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA. They expect to see more attractive prices in Brazil, China, Great Britain, India and Mexico as well by 2021.