Large-scale solar power set for double-digit growth

Solar power has been booming not just because of government and corporate sustainability targets, but also thanks to a sharp drop in panel prices in recent years. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 March 2019
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Large-scale solar power set for double-digit growth

  • Solar power is the fastest growing source of electricity generation, taking market share from fossil fuels
  • Goldman said it expected utility-scale solar installations globally to reach to 108 gigawatts (GW) in 2019

SINGAPORE: Utility-scale solar power capacity is expected to grow by double digits globally in 2019 and 2020, driven by expansions in the United States, Europe, Middle East and China, US bank Goldman Sachs said on Thursday.
Solar power is the fastest growing source of electricity generation, taking market share from fossil fuels like thermal coal and natural gas as governments and companies increasingly introduce clean energy targets.
“We expect the combination of lower costs for solar and favorable policy support providing a multi-year runway for utility-scale to drive meaningful upside to the market,” the US investment bank said in a research note.
Goldman said it expected utility-scale solar installations globally to reach to 108 gigawatts (GW) in 2019, up 12 percent on the previous year, and then grow by another 10 percent in 2020 to 119 GW.
For 2021 and 2022 the bank expected capacity to reach 129 GW and 135 GW.
Utility-scale solar is defined as an installation that is designed solely to feed electricity into a grid, unlike smaller scale residential solar units.
Including residential installations, most analysts expect global solar power capacity to soon hit 600 GW.
“We anticipate some of the strongest growth to materialize in key regions such as the US, Europe, and the Middle East while we see some potential upside emerging in China where demand appears to have stabilized in recent months following a collapse through the latter part of 2018,” it added.
Solar power has been booming not just because of government and corporate sustainability targets, but also thanks to a sharp drop in panel prices in recent years.
Solar panel costs have plummeted from around $70 per watt of electricity generated in 1980, to $0.36 per watt currently in the United States, according to energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
Thanks to the solar boom, Goldman said it was “selectively constructive” on solar companies, with First Solar, Canadian Solar, Vivint Solar, Longi Green Energy Technology and Tongwei expected to perform well.


Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

Updated 23 March 2019
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Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

  • Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China
  • Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets

BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook nudged China on Saturday to open up and said the future would depend on global collaboration, as the United States and China remained locked in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue to open up, we see that as essential, not only for China to reach its full potential, but for the global economy to thrive,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets, some analysts worry that its reform project has slowed or even stalled under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a bigger role for state-owned firms at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China because of a contracting smartphone market, increasing pressure from Chinese rivals, and slowing upgrade cycles. The company reported a revenue drop of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before those results came out, in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on trade tension between the United States and China, suggesting that pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.