23rd Edition - 2018

Since its inception in 1992, the series of IEA PVPS Trends reports now covers the unique analysis of the last 25 years of global PV market development. IEA PVPS is proud to be a key witness of the very dynamic development that photovoltaics has undergone in the last quarter of a century, thereby tracing the very start of the global energy turnaround that the world is now experiencing, and which will continue to do so over the next 25 years.
This year’s report covers the market and industry development up to 2017 which has been another record-breaking year. For the first time, close to 99 GW of PV power systems have been installed globally in one year, bringing the total installed capacity to over 403 GW and confirming the annually new installed PV capacity as the number one over all other energy technologies.
Once again, a key driver of this remarkable result has been the development in China (53,1 GW of installed capacity in 2017), followed by the United States (10,7 GW, down), India (9,1 GW, up), Japan (7,5 GW, stable) and, for the first time among the top  five PV countries,  Turkey (2,6 GW). This picture confirms that – besides the key role that China plays – an important part of the growth comes from emerging PV markets, namely in the Asia-Pacific region. The US market was lower than in 2016 (14,8 GW) while established markets such as Japan and Europe remained rather stable. Nine countries installed more than 1 GW in 2017 and 27 countries reached a cumulative capacity of 1 GW and more. 
On the cost side, record PPAs have been announced at below 2 USDcents per kWh, confirming the increasing competitiveness that PV can reach under best conditions. With further cost reductions to be expected in the coming years, this trend is very likely to continue bringing PV to the cheapest option for electricity generation. It is, however, equally important to point out that average PV life cycle costs of electricity are somewhat higher and often still strongly depend on the regulatory framework conditions. The best evidence for this observation is given by the change of the framework conditions that took place in China in May 2018, thereby strongly affecting this particular market.
Overall, the policy driven conditions globally tend to diversify, in particular for smaller systems, where self-consumption and storage options are gaining importance. While policy remains relevant, a shift to market-oriented framework conditions can be observed in many countries. As part of this trend, new business models are being introduced leading to further diversification. All of these developments are accompanied by continuous technology and product evolution, making PV a growing player in the energy field. With its rising level of penetration in electric grids, PV is more and more affecting electricity systems as a whole, and the integration into various technical and market environments becomes crucial.

As a last number to remember, at the end of 2017, PV is estimated to provide about 2,5% of the global electricity supply and in about 30 countries, PV contributes between 1% and 10% to the electricity consumption. Looking at the past ten years, these developments remain astonishing but are still too low to efficiently fight the threat of climate change. PV now needs to be recognized as one of the few key available options for massively transitioning to a low carbon future. 

Report Scope and Ob­jective

As part of the work of the IEA PVPS Programme, annual surveys of photovoltaic (PV) power applications and markets are carried out in the reporting countries. The objective of the Trends reports is to present and interpret developments in the PV power systems market and the changing applications for these products within that market. These trends are analyzed in the context of the business, policy and non-technical environment in the reporting countries.

 

This report is prepared to assist those responsible for developing the strategies of businesses and public authorities, and to aid the development of medium term plans for electricity utilities and other providers of energy services. It also provides guidance to government officials responsible for setting energy policy and preparing national energy plans.

 

The scope of the report is limited to PV applications with a rated power of 40 W or more. National data supplied are as accurate as possible at the time of publication. Accuracy of data on production levels and system prices varies depending on the willingness of the relevant national PV industry to provide data.

 

This report presents the results of the 23rd international survey. It provides an overview of PV power systems applications, markets and production in the reporting countries and elsewhere at the end of 2016 and analyzes trends in the implementation of PV power systems between 1992 and 2017.

Survey Method

Key data for this publication were drawn mostly from national survey reports and information summaries, which were supplied by representatives from each of the reporting countries. These national survey reports can be found on this website. Information from the countries outside IEA PVPS are drawn from a variety of sources and, while every attempt is made to ensure their accuracy, confidence in some of these data is somewhat lower than applies to IEA PVPS member countries.

Markets, Industry, Power Sector

This year's edition focuses on the PV market developments, inside and outside the IEA PVPS network. Accurate data about industry developments and the progress of PV in the power sector are highlighted. With a focus on support policies, this edition aims to delivering a wide set of information for policy makers, and all people interested in the drivers of PV development.