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

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.


Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

Updated 21 November 2019

Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

  • Moscow not aiming to be world’s No.1 crude producer, Putin tells annual investment forum

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have “a common goal” of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal.

OPEC meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+.

“Our (common with OPEC) goal is for the market to be balanced, acceptable for producers and consumers and the most important — and I want to underline this — predictable,” Putin told a forum on Wednesday.

In October, Russia cut its oil output to 11.23 million barrels per day (bpd) from 11.25 million bpd in September but it was still higher than a 11.17-11.18 million bpd cap set for Moscow under the existing global deal. Putin told the forum that Russia’s oil production was growing slightly despite the supply curbs deal but Moscow was not aiming to be the world’s No. 1 crude producer. Currently, the US is the world’s top oil producer.

“Russia has a serious impact on the global energy market but the most impact we achieve (is) when working along with other key producers,” he said. “There was a moment not that long ago when Russia was the world’s top oil producer — this is not our goal.”

Russia plans to produce between 556 million and 560 million tons of oil this year (11.17-11.25 million bpd), Energy Minister Alexander Novak said separately on Wednesday, depending on the volume of gas condensate produced during cold months.

Russia will aim to stick to its commitments under the deal in November, Novak told reporters.

Russia includes gas condensate — a side product also known as a “light oil” produced when companies extract natural gas — into its overall oil production statistics, which some other oil producing countries do not do.

As Russia is gradually increasing liquefied natural gas production (LNG), the share of gas condensate it is producing is also growing. Gas condensate now accounts for around 6 percent of Russian oil production.

Novak told reporters that in winter, Russia traditionally produces more gas condensate as it is launching new gas fields in the freezing temperatures.

“We believe that gas condensate should not be taken into account (of overall oil production statistics), as this is an absolutely different area related to gas production and gas supplies,” he said.

Three sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Russia is unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Novak declined to say that Russia’s position would be at upcoming OPEC+ meeting. Reuters uses a conversion rate of 7.33 barrels per ton of oil.