The solar sector is one of the most astonishing technology success stories of the past decade. Ten years ago, solar power was far more expensive than conventional fossil fuels and the prospect of it becoming a mainstream part of the global energy mix was distant. Today, growth rates are soaring, costs have plummeted and the technology is, in most parts of the world, already cheaper than fossil fuelled power plants. “Solar and/or wind are now the cheapest new source of generation in all major economies, except Japan,” according to BloombergNEF’s Levelized Cost of Energy report. China dominates the solar sector, both in terms of production and installation. “There is about 500GW of installed solar capacity, with about 175GW of it in China”, says Xabier Viteri, Renewable Energy Business Director at Iberdrola. “Germany, Japan and the US have about 50GW each, with India at about half that level.” Europe, despite being the most mature solar market, is currently experiencing its own growth surge. “Our forecast for this year sees solar demand surge by over 80% in Europe to 20 GW, and an 18% growth to 24.1 GW in 2020, which would be a new installation record, surpassing the 22.5 GW […]


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