2019 was an exceptional year for solar and storage, with growth expectations even higher for 2020. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020 caused many uncertainties. Politics, society and science are emphasizing the importance to invest more in renewable energy sources, but with global and national markets on coming to a grinding halt, it will take a while for the markets to recover and growth to return.
"Due to complete / partial lockdowns enforced across multiple country markets several projects in the solar sector have been postponed and the impact will be felt in the short-term however, in the medium to long term the sector's quick recovery is anticipated" says Parag Bhamre, Director of the SSDC. "However, it is our responsibility to look at the development of solar and storage until now to draw conclusions as to where we are headed in the future, despite the current challenges."
Solar: Optimistic Development, Dependency on Clear Regulations
With a global increase of 13% (SolarPower Europe (2020): Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2020-2024), the PV installations climbed up to 116.9 GW in 2019 and marked a new installation record. In total, 48% of global net power plant capacity of 2019 was based on solar PV technology, prophesying a further great development in the future. The impact on solar development was noticeable: results of solar tenders dropped below the level of 1.5 US cent per kilowatt hour. Additionally, the relevance of political framework became more and more evident. Due to multiple problems and uncertainties with energy transformation regulations, both China and India reported significantly less installed capacity (31% resp. 11%) in 2019. The international exchange of stakeholders and industry experts is a fundamental instrument to gain insight in the renewable energy sector's requirements and governments have to provide an enabling environment towards transitioning to emission-free, sustainable world.
Energy Storage: Showing its Worth not only in Times of Crisis
Although it may seem contradictory with the 20% installation drop, the role of energy storage also grew in the past years (SPE 2020). The decline exclusively concerned grid-scale storage while residential battery installations doubled, demonstrating a shift towards behind-the-meter storage. With some national feed-in schemes for home solar energy phasing out, like in Japan in 2019 or in Germany, many owners of solar PV installations fall back on the purchase of energy storage to use more of their self-produced energy. Events like the wildfires in Australia and the US west coast have shown the worth of grid independency in emergency cases. Additionally, electric energy storage farther profits from "spillover effects" of the EV technology development, with battery technology innovation, supply chains and industrial policies benefitting both fields.
The greatest obstacle for energy storage is the uncertainty of regulations for deployment and use seen in many countries such as the USA or in Europe. The opportunity to showcase the newest developments in energy storage ability, safety and application possibilities international fairs offer cannot be undervalued, much less under current circumstances and for a so far neglected industry sector like energy storage.
Corona Impacts on the Solar and Energy Storage Markets:
Global Survey by Joint Forces for Solar and EUPD Research
Due to the aforementioned reasons, the International Energy Agency IEA forecasted 2020 to become another record year for renewable energy (IEA, Renewables 2019.Market analysis and forecast from 2019 to 2024). When it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would have severe impact on national and global markets alike, market experts feared for the worst. But the first COVID-19 Solar & Storage Business Climate Index, a survey by Joint Forces for Solar and EUPD Research that covers more than 50 country markets and collected the data in multiple rounds to visualize development, found that while most of the participants expected a drop in PV installations in 2020, the national range differed greatly. Generally the impact of the pandemic on the PV market demand was weaker than expected and concentrated mainly on the initial shock determined by lockdown measures, affecting development, production, sales, transport and installation alike. Martin Ammon, Managing Partner and Head of Energy Industry at EUPD Research, concludes: "Most markets, like the European core markets, are already starting to recover, with German residential PV-segment and the storage market even having experienced a constant grow at a sustained pace during Q1 of 2020. The noticeable effect on pricing is expected to be only temporary and will stabilize in the near future."
Outlook: Solar and Storage up to date
It has become clear that, despite the challenges of global travel restrictions and concerns on big events, the exchange of industry experts, stakeholders, manufacturers and companies is crucial in the sustainable and thoughtful further development of the renewable energy sector. The Solar & Storage DigiCon on Joint Forces for Solar and IBESA offers exactly that:
The digital e-Marketplace, starting July 15, provides the great opportunity to stay up to date in the market as well as to communicate with target audiences, market experts and appreciated colleagues alike. » Registration is already open.
Solar & Storage DigiCon | http://www.solarstorage-digicon.com