Worldwide solar market estimated to surpass US$134 billion by 2020

Clare Saxon Ghauri
Reading time: 2 minutes
11 July 2013

LONDON: The global solar market is set to rise 51% to surpass US$134 billion in annual revenue each year by 2020, according to new research. 

'Solar PV Market Forecasts', by Navigant Consultant, estimates that developers will spend over US$134 billion annually by 2020 on solar energy systems, which is up 51% from current totals.


The researchers calculate that falling solar panel prices will push solar-powered electricity to become cost-competitive with other power sources, causing the global solar PV market to surge 51% in annual revenue.

Other emerging factors that the report authors suggest could trigger a stabilized solar PV market are:

  • Utility-scale solar PV power plants will begin to come online.
  • Lower system prices will open up new markets for distributed PV and help the technology reach grid parity quicker in the high-cost retail market.
  • In distributed solar PV markets, more innovative financing options will make the technology available to more homeowners and commercial property owners.
  • Many countries have ‘retooled’ financial incentives, with more emphasis on onsite generation. Because of this, many companies expect 2017 (one year after solar PV investment tax credits are cut 10% in the US) to be the year that solar PV can stand on its own without subsidies in most major markets.

In the report, policy issues and market drivers are included for each region, as well as average solar PV installation prices for the forecast period. 

Dexter Gauntlett, research analyst with Navigant Research, said: “Financial incentives, government renewable energy deployment targets, and technology cost reduction are still the most important drivers of the solar PV market. In most cases, these renewable energy deployment and cost reduction targets will be met or exceeded, with 438 gigawatts of solar PV installed cumulatively between 2013 and 2020. By the end of 2020, solar PV is expected to be cost-competitive with retail electricity prices, without subsidies, in a significant portion of the world.”

Focusing on China's solar market recently, Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, said: "Internationally, North America and Europe continue to develop, making the market more competitive: China and the EU wish to be the fuse which sparks the global fire.

"As costs continue to decline, China and some EU countries have begun reducing subsidies, a policy which has allowed enterprises to continuously develop and enhance their competitiveness. There are clearly still many lessons to be learned on solar in China, but with both government and business collaboration, we will make strides towards a strong and economically viable industry."

Read Solar PV Market Forecasts by Navigant Consultant

Related news:

Changhua Wu: There are still many lessons to be learned in China's solar PV industry

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Nearly half of China's IKEA stores go solar, with Hanergy partnership

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