GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Global Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Market, Update 2021 – Market Size, Market Share, Major Trends, and Key Country Analysis to 2030,’ provides a clear overview of and detailed insight into the global solar PV market. The report provides data and analysis on the historic and forecast solar power capacity and generation, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, major active and upcoming plants, market size and market drivers and challenges for eleven key solar PV market countries, namely the US, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, France, Germany, the UK, Turkey and Vietnam.

The Asia Pacific region has been the global leader in terms of cumulative solar PV capacity. Rapid deployment of solar PV plants in developing countries such as India and Vietnam are expected to help the region in maintaining its dominance in the global solar PV market. In 2020, Asia Pacific held a share of 58.9% in the global solar PV market in terms of cumulative capacity and this share is expected to increase to 59.8% in 2030.

China leads the global solar PV market, followed by the US, Japan, Germany, and India. By 2030, India is expected to have overtaken Japan and Germany to become the third-largest solar PV market in terms of cumulative capacity. Also, Vietnam has witnessed rapid solar PV capacity additions since 2019. Attractive Feed-in Tariff (FiT) offered by the government resulted in significant interest among domestic and global generating companies in solar PV generation in Vietnam. Several generating companies built solar PV capacities in 2018 and commissioned them in 2019 to meet the deadline of June 2019 to be eligible for this FiT. This resulted in a massive spike in solar PV annual capacity additions in Vietnam in 2019.

Asia Pacific has always been the global leader in terms of cumulative as well as annual solar PV capacity additions. China has maintained its dominance not only in the Asia Pacific solar PV market but also globally and a similar trend is expected to continue till 2030. In the past few years, solar PV capacity additions have increased in emerging economics in APAC. These countries include India and Vietnam. The Indian Government has set ambitious targets for renewable power sources, especially solar PV. The government plans to increase the cumulative renewable capacity to 175 GW by March 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar resources. In November 2019, the government announced plans to further increase the country’s renewable capacity to 450GW by 2030. The breakdown of components of the new target is not announced yet, but it is expected that solar PV will continue to be the largest component with a target close to 300GW.

The solar PV market in Vietnam has witnessed significant traction since 2019. An attractive FiT of $0.0935/kWh was offered by the Ministry of Industry and Trade for building solar PV capacities with a deadline of June 2019. Several utilities started building solar PV plans in 2018 and commissioned them in 2019. This is reflected in the surge in solar PV capacity addition in the country from almost none in 2017 to 100 MW in 2018 to over 5,600 MW in 2019. The government revised these FiTs after June 2019. However, the new FiTs were still attractive and led to remarkable growth in capacity addition of over 11,000 MW in 2020. The government has piqued the interest of solar PV project developers through FiTs and now plans to introduce auctions to continue the growth.

Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020. The Covid-19 virus, which was first detected in China, rapidly spread across the world leading to national lockdowns in major economies. Countries resorted to travel restrictions and social distancing measures to curb the spread of the pandemic. In 2020, the US, India and Brazil were the major countries affected due to the pandemic.

With respect to the solar PV market, the pandemic did not have any major impact on capacity additions globally. Global solar PV capacity additions stood at 133.8 GW in 2020, higher than 104.9 GW installed in 2019. Although solar PV projects faced commissioning delays due to disruption of the supply chain and non-availability of labour due to travel restrictions, governments across various countries extended support for these projects. For instance, in December 2020, the US Government provided a two-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar PV installations. The ITC was scheduled to drop from 26% in 2020 to 21% in 2021, but as part of the Covid relief measures, is set to continue to prevail at 26% for plants and home installations starting construction in 2021 and 2022 incentivising capacity additions during these years. Also, numerous governments categorised solar PV plants into essential services category, so that construction of these plants can continue even during national lockdowns. Such measures helped the market to grow substantially in 2020 despite the pandemic.