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Global Solar Growth Shoots Through The 100 GW Mark Growing 26% In 2017

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Global Solar Growth – 2018

Solar demand in 2017 has crossed the 100 GW mark for the first time ever, showing a solid growth of 26% over 2016. From being a niche small technology a decade ago, solar energy has become the largest source of energy addition in a number of countries now. This trend is expected to grow further going forward with solar costs declining at a rapid pace and becoming more cost competitive with fossil fuels. Solar energy is already cheaper than other forms of energy in countries like India, Germany, Spain etc. This is not taking into account the environmental and social benefits which would put solar energy further ahead of global warming fuels such as coal and gas.

Frameless solar panels

The demand in 2017 was mainly due to China which accounted for 50% of the global demand with capacity addition of more than 50 GW. What was notable that China managed to install a whopping 19 GW of distributed solar energy apart from over 30 GW of ground mounted utility capacity. This was mainly on the back of strong government support being given to distributed generation which had been lagging behind. India was the other major star performer installing more than 9 GW of solar energy capacity and taking the 3rd position from Japan which fell to the 4th place, as it solar energy additions in 2017 fell to 6 GW. Japan had been seeing a major solar boom due to very high feed-in tariffs and the slowdown in solar capacity this year was not totally unexpected.  The USA which is currently changing its policy towards solar panel import was the 2nd largest with 12 GW of installed capacity.

Top Global Solar Manufacturers – 2017

2018 is expected to see flat growth over the year, as China does not really have the bandwidth to absorb more than 50 GW of capacity each year. This means that its capacity may even fall leading other countries to absorb the slack. After two years of very high double-digit growth, this year will see a flattening in demand.

The implication will be that solar prices may fall further as large companies in China are setting up huge 10 GW pls automated factories. This could lead to another price war leading to even lower prices. 2017 has seen flat prices for solar panels as the increased supply was matched with higher demand. However, 2018 supply additions will not find too many new large markets which could lead to a supply glut and fall in prices. Technology improvements in monocrystalline technology and diamond wafers saws have allowed the large manufacturers such as Longi, GCL Poly and Tongwei to cut costs and they could easily transfer their cost savings to lower prices.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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