A new analysis by market research company, Frost & Sullivan entitled – Global Solar Power Market, estimates that Solar PV market will be worth $137.02 billion in 2020.  Heightened awareness around curbing carbon emissions together with favourable legislation is driving rapid growth in the solar power market.

Sales volumes for PV are heavily concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region, with Africa, especially South Africa realising its burgeoning solar potential. PV is now able to compete with municipal distribution tariffs, and dismisses the argument that renewables are not able to serve a baseload function in the country.

“The costs of solar technologies, especially solar PV, have been rapidly declining over the past few years in Africa, stated Frost & Sullivan’s Industrial Analyst for Energy & Environment Gareth Blanckenberg. “The levelised cost of energy (LCOE) is now competitive with many other conventional generation technologies, especially for distributed, off-grid and hybrid solutions.”

In other parts of the world, China, Japan, India and Australia account for 46 percent of total installed solar capacity globally. The European market also continues to grow, with Germany being the first country in the region to incentivise solar PV power with feed-in-tariffs (FiTs) in 2006.

“The global solar power market is benefitting from various incentive schemes in the form of tradable green energy certificates, FiTs, subsidies, and tax rebates for the use of renewable energy for power generation,” saidFrost & Sullivan Energy & Environmental Industry Analyst Pritil Gunjan. “However, these incentive schemes continue to be very heterogeneous, making solar PV penetration rates vary widely based on local and regional policies.”

Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK collectively plan to install in excess of 75GW of solar PV capacity.

Challenges facing the market include the cost of solar PV Systems, the intermittency of solar power and low return on investment of the power source. Governmental support, environmental policy, and modifications of the electricity grid will be among the determining factors of final costs for end-users and ultimately, solar power uptake.

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