SolarPower Europe: Solar for the Masses as Global Solar Rooftops Skyrocket by 50%

  • With 118 GW of new rooftop solar installations worldwide in 2022, the equivalent of 36 million more homes globally is powered by solar.
  • Global solar smashes annual installation record for the 10th year in a row, with 239 GW of new solar installed in 2022. 
  • It’s not all sunshine: 20 of the biggest solar markets report electricity grids and flexibility as a key challenge.
  • A special focus on Southeast Asia reveals how the region is using solar to develop more resilient and sustainable energy systems.

PVTIME – Solar is powering more people, in more parts of the world, than ever before, a new report from SolarPower Europe reveals on 13 June 2023. 

Last year, the world’s rooftop solar capacity shot by 49%, from 79 GW in 2021 to 118 GW. That means the equivalent of 36 million more homes were powered by solar by the end of 2022. The rooftop boom will continue in 2023, with another 159 GW set to be installed.

In 2022, the number of major solar countries – installing at least 1 GW annually – grew from 17 to 26. By 2025, the Global Market Outlook for Solar Power predicts that more than 50 countries will be installing more than 1 GW of solar per year.

Aristotelis Chantavas, President of SolarPower Europe said: “The world has realised that fossil fuel crises are the crises that never really go away. More than ever before, people in every part of the world are turning to solar. In a year defined by energy and climate crisis, solar hope continues to shine through.”

SolarPower Europe’s latest annual Global Market Outlook reports a decade of the world breaking its own solar installation record annually. The world installed 239 GW of new solar in 2022, an increase of 45% from 2021. 

With over 1.2 TW of solar now installed worldwide, solar will generate 1,612 TWh of electricity globally over the course of 2023 – equivalent to 57% of the European Union’s total electricity demand.

The forecast is bright – between 341 and 402 GW of solar will be installed worldwide in 2023. From a total TW solar fleet today, the world could be installing 1 TW of solar annually by the end of the decade – hitting up to 800 GW per year already in 2027.

Despite the positive outlook, challenges remain. Limited grid capacity, and a lack of flexibility or storage in national electricity systems, is posing a critical risk to the global solar transition. Out of the 25 significant solar countries, 20 report grid bottlenecks as a key barrier to solar development.

Michael Schmela, Director of Market Intelligence at SolarPower Europe said: “Grids and flexibility are the sleeping giant of the energy transition – and the giant is waking up. We’re installing huge amounts of solar, and we need to be able to use it, when we need it. Governments around the world must make upgrading their electricity and storage infrastructure a political priority.”

This year’s report also zooms in on the role of solar in Southeast Asia. With total solar capacity of 32 GW in the region, 3.4 GW was installed last year, slightly down from the 4.2 GW installed in 2021. 

Southeast Asia’s solar boom year, 2020, is hard to beat, when strong frameworks in Vietnam led to 13.1 GW being installed in the region. Nevertheless, bright prospects remain, with an upward trend expected in 2023 bringing 3.8 GW. The region’s irradiance, increasing electricity demand, declining costs, and supportive government policies could lead to more than 20 GW of annual solar installations by 2027.

Tetchi Capellan, General Secretary of the Asian Photovoltaic Industry Association said: “Solar’s technical and cost profile makes it an ideal solution for Southeast Asia to decarbonise its economies, while bringing clean, democratised energy to its growing populations. The Southeast Asian solar boom is just beginning!”

Launched at Intersolar Europe in Munich, the Global Market Outlook for Solar Power is produced in partnership with the Global Solar Council. 

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