Solar power projects broke a record in 2011 with more than $209 billion of investment in 2011, according to a report released this week by GlobalData. Solar power investment topped wind energy investment last year, capturing 49 percent of the global renewable energy investment, according to the report. And there is tremendous growth opportunity in the solar industry.
“The sector is expected to witness high growth in investments,” said Pavan Vyakaranam, report author who responded to a request for an email interview, “due to the prevailing tough competition in the market related to the lowering of costs and improving system efficiencies.”
GlobalData is a United Kingdom-based research firm that released its first solar industry report this year. The research is designed to help power investors analyze the market conditions, Vyakaranam said. “The continuous technological innovations in this sector have increased investor confidence, thereby building up tough competition and driving down solar power prices globally.”
Southeast Asia, including China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, will continue to dominate the market as a solar module supplier and exporter, but demand for solar installation will broaden and spread globally with several different regions leading early opportunity for solar investment, Vyakaranam said.
The United State and China are the obvious powerhouse leaders for industry demand. “Besides the US and China,” Vyakaranam said, “the solar market is expected to grow in India due to the continuous support provided by the government through the National Solar Mission. ”India’s large population and rural areas without grid power make it a prime candidate for solar development. But there will be other growth markets as well. Vyakaranam said he expects the Italian solar market to recover in 2013 because the country announced that it would end solar registration fees.
Vyakaranam said he also expects significant solar industry growth in the Middle East and North Africa, where countries are focusing on preserving their oil reserves and reinvesting oil money in next-generation energy research and installation. “Countries such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordon and Morocco are coming up with solar power investment projects.”
Oversupply issues in the market should also begin to subside within the next two to three years as solar panel prices continue to slip downward and closer to grid parity with traditional power generation. “The solar market demand is expected to rise in the long-term scenario,” Vyakaranam said.