Leading clean energy analysts IHS Markit released a new solar PV installation forecast before Christmas which expects to see 2019 deliver the highest level of new solar capacity installed in a year, with annual installations to increase by 18% and reach 123 gigawatts (GW).

Forecasting the global solar PV market has been fraught with difficulty over the last 18 months, as it is intrinsically based on informed guesses — guesses that don’t take into account mid-year policy shifts, such as the one we saw in China in 2018 which scrubbed most analyst forecasts. In June, China’s government announced that it would cap new solar projects for 2018 and reduce the country’s solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT), with “no new general solar capacity planned” for the rest of the year.

Panda China Solar

This caused several analysts to scrap their previous estimates of another record-breaking year for the global solar industry, and pull their figures back under 2017’s total.

However, as the year panned out, the doom and gloom for China’s solar industry did not necessarily come to pass, and in November IHS Markit revised its 2018 solar PV forecast upward to 40 GW — having dropped from an expected 50 GW down to 38 GW earlier in the year.

China is of course the global solar behemoth at the moment, reliably accounting for between 40% to 50% of new installed capacity, but this is slowly beginning to shift, and according to IHS Markit’s latest solar forecast for 2019, published before Christmas by Edurne Zoco, Ph.D, research director, solar and energy storage, IHS Markit, two-thirds of installed global solar PV generation capacity will come from outside China in 2019, with several new or revived country markets raising their totals next year.

Specifically, IHS Markit expects to see Argentina, Egypt, South Africa, Spain, and Vietnam together represent 7% of total installations in 2019, accounting for 7 GW of total demand growth. The solar industry in the United States will also benefit from a substantial increase, with demand expected to increase by 28% year-over-year as developers seek to complete a share of their pipeline projects before the December 2019 deadline the 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

Overall, IHS Markit expects annual global solar PV installations in 2019 to increase by 18% and top out with 123 GW of new capacity installed by year’s end.

All that being said, however, China will still account for a third of capacity additions in 2019 on its own, likely thanks in part to recent policy decisions through the second half of 2018 which has bolstered confidence in the country’s solar industry. In September, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) revealed that it was planning to phase out power generation subsidies for technologies like solar — attempting to minimize the financial strain these subsidies are putting on the country — but will in turn seek to support the renewable energy sector in achieving “grid price parity” so that these technologies can compete on their own.

Two months later, the NEA floated the possibility that it might expand the country’s solar target to at least 210 GW by 2020, with the potential to push it as high as 250 GW or 270 GW. This, on its own, will likely have tremendous consequences for global capacity figures considering that, between the two extremes the NEA suggested for its new solar target, China may need to only install 20 GW per year or as much as 40 GW or more per year.

As for the solar manufacturing side of things, Edurne Zoco writes that “IHS Markit anticipates limited capacity announcements across the supply chain, which should contribute to higher average utilization rates across all nodes in 2019 and an improvement in the overcapacity situation faced by the PV manufacturing industry in the second half of 2018.”

“As anticipated, module prices collapsed in the second half of 2018, but existing strong demand outside of China – especially in Mexico, Vietnam, Spain – has slowed down price erosion for shipments in the first half of 2019,” Zurco continued. “Many international developers have advanced their procurement, fearing that the upcoming new solar policy in China could affect module availability from tier-one players in the international market.”

Source: Cleantechnica

G20 nations still led by fossil fuel industry, climate report finds

Coal, oil and gas subsidies risking rise in global temperatures to 3.2C, well beyond agreed Paris goal

Great Barrier Reef
Of the G20 nations 15 reported emissions rises in 2017, finds Climate Transparency. Only India was on course to stay below the 2C warming limit. Photograph: Mia Hoogenboom/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Climate action is way off course in all but one of the world’s 20 biggest economies, according to a report that shows politicians are paying more heed to the fossil fuel industry than to advice from scientists.

Among the G20 nations 15 reported a rise in emissions last year, according to the most comprehensive stock-take to date of progress towards the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

The paper, by the global partnership Climate Transparency, found 82% of energy in these countries still being provided by coal, oil and gas, a factor which has relied on an increase of about 50% in subsidies over the past 10 years to compete with increasingly cheap wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

The G20 nations spent $147bn (£114bn) on subsidies in 2016, although they pledged to phase them out more than 10 years ago.

Governments have said they will change, but on current commitments the world is on course for a 3.2C rise in average global temperatures, more than double the lower Paris threshold of 1.5C, which scientists have said represents the last chance to save coral reefs, the Arctic ecosystem and the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people at risk of increased drought, flooding and forest fires.

“The gap is still very big,” said Jan Burck, one of the authors of the report. “The G20 is not moving fast enough.”

Comparing the goals and policies of different countries, the paper found that only India was on course to stay below the upper limit set by the Paris agreement of 2C, while the worst offenders – Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – would take the world beyond 4C.

China, the world’s biggest emitter, stabilised its releases of carbon for a couple of years by reducing dependency on coal, but this positive trend slipped last year. Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina have promised to cut deforestation but the destruction rate of forests shows no sign of reversing.

Britain has made the fastest transition, with a 7.7% decline in the use of fossil fuels between 2012 and 2015, but the report warned that this could stall in the years ahead because the government had cut support for feed-in tariffs, energy efficiency and zero-carbon homes.

The authors said political pressures in the G20 countries, with more subsidies for fossil fuels, were working against effective climate action.

“There is a huge fight by the fossil fuel industry against cheap renewables. The old economy is well organised and they have put huge lobbying pressure on governments to spend tax money to subsidise the old world,” Burck said.

These political pressures are likely to intensify as governments are called upon to extend emissions cuts to the transport and agriculture sectors. The report said G20 emissions needed to start declining in the next two years and halve by 2030 if the world were to avoid more than 1.5C of warming, though not one country in the group had set a credible target to do this.

The UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, in December –the COP24 conference – will start a two-year process for governments to deliver on their commitments to reduce emissions. Although there are national leaders hostile to tackling climate change, such as in the US and Brazil, there is still hope they will be open to taking their share of the responsibility.

Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UN framework convention on climate change, said: “Global emissions need to peak in 2020. The Brown-to-Green report provides us with an independent stock-take on where we stand now. This is valuable information for countries when they declare their contribution in 2020.”

This article was amended on 14 November 2018. An earlier version included figures from the report that were corrected after publication, when it said that fossil fuel subsidies in G20 countries have doubled between 2007 and 2016, from $75bn (£58bn) to $147bn (£114bn). The two figures were not comparable, because the 2007 figure did not include data for all G20 countries included in the 2016 figure. The increase over the past 10 years is about 50%, not double. In addition, an earlier version misspelled Jan Burck’s last name as Buerck. This has been corrected.

Source: The Guardian