Sunny Days Ahead For Solar Energy and Solar PV Technologies

The A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute launches a new FactBook, "Solar Photovoltaic – Sunny days," focusing on the latest status of the solar PV industry, technologies and their outlook.

Starting from a low base where solar PV represents 1.8% of global electricity in 2016, the outlook is bright. Since its onset, solar PV development has accelerated through the mid-2000s, with numerous countries introducing policies to support it. By the end of 2016 – another record-breaking year for the solar PV market – cumulative capacity had reached 291 GW (see figure below).

Installed Solar PV Capacity by Region
Gigawatt (GW)

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"The global outlook for solar energy and in particular solar PV energy solutions is bright," commented Richard Forrest, chairman of the A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute. "Solar energy is one of the most evenly distributed energy sources available across the world and solar PV solutions can now provide energy at competitive price levels in key locations compared to more traditional carbon-based energy sources."

"It is important to make a distinction between grid-connected solar PV capacity and off-grid systems," said Romain Debarre, managing director of the A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute. "The development of grid-connected PV has far exceeded that of the off-grid market in recent years and represents 99% of installed capacity. However, growth in off-grid systems is accelerating in several countries and offers a solution to alleviate energy poverty in remote areas or those with poor energy infrastructure in place."

"The solar PV industrial landscape is highly competitive, which in recent years resulted in production overcapacities, trade disputes, and restructuring of the industry," Romain Debarre, managing director of the A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute, explained. "Asian companies now dominate the silicon value chain. China continues to be the dominant player in module production, accounting for around two-thirds of global production. European and North American companies, meanwhile, remain strong in engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) and development activities."

"The potential to increase access to fresh water in arid regions is one of the exciting opportunities offered by solar PV," commented Romain Debarre, managing director of the A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute. "Solar PV-driven desalination integrated with water storage instead of electricity storage presents promising potential at a cost-competitive price point."

"We expect a rapidly increasing contribution of solar PV to the global power generation mix starting from a low base," stated Richard Forrest, chairman of the A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute. "With new technological and cost-competitive solar PV solutions readily available, energy transition will accelerate and challenge conventional companies in the energy value chain."

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For further information or interview requests, please contact Anja Vinter: anja.vinter@atkearney.com; tel: +971 44575000

 

About the Solar Photovoltaic FactBook

This FactBook from the A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute summarizes the status of the solar photovoltaic (PV) power industry and the paths for development.

 

About A.T. Kearney

A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world's foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues. For more information, visit www.atkearney.com.

 

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Richard Forrest Richard Forrest
Lead Partner, Global Energy and Process Industry Practice
Chairman, A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute
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Richard Forrest Romain Debarre
Managing Director, A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute
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