Global Market Outlook For Solar 2021-2025

Welcome to the Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2021-2025.

Nobody could have predicted a year ago that solar would manage so smoothly through a devastating global pandemic, and yet, despite the fact that COVID-19 has persisted longer than expected, global demand for solar did not shrink at all. Instead, surprising us yet again, solar reached a new annual record of 18% growth, with 138 GW installed in 2020. The success of solar is due to many factors. A primary one is its cost leadership, which continues to improve without an end in sight. Another is its versatility: solar covers an unmatched spectrum of power applications from very small residential systems to very large utility-scale plants, individual installations to building-integrated solutions in carports, apartment houses or agricultural green houses. There are also mobile applications and off-grid systems for rural electrification. Finally, no other power plant can be planned and built as rapidly as solar
PV, while at the same time involving the highest job intensity.

This solar market outlook sees much stronger growth for each of the coming years than anticipated in our previous edition. While the deployment volume is somewhat limited due to COVID-19 and the silicon raw material shortage in 2021, increasing vaccination rates in major solar markets and new silicon factories coming online will result in additions of over 200 GW per year as of 2022, two years earlier than forecasted in last year’s GMO. The total solar power generation fleet will boost capacities from about three quarters of a terawatt in 2020, to over 1 TW in 2022, and nearly 1.9 TW in 2025, in our most realistic scenario. There is good reason why the International Energy Agency (IEA), in its World Energy Outlook 2020 highlights that solar is the new king of electricity markets.

While China was the main growth driver in 2020, boosting its solar grid-connections by 60% to 48 GW, bringing online about 2.5 times the capacity of the second largest market, the United States; we now have more markets that installed 1 GW per year than ever before. In 2018, only 11 countries were in the GW-club, which grew to 18 in 2020, and will reach 29 by 2023.

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