Eight key trends in solar power for 2018

March 23, 2018 //By Nick Flaherty
Eight key trends in solar power for 2018
Analysts at IHS Markit have identiifed eight key trends in solar power for 2018, from floating solar farms to digital PV inverters.
  1. For the first time, 20 countries surpass 500 MW in annual PV installations
  2. Floating solar moves beyond niche applications
  3. Bifacial and half-cell technologies are the new rising module stars in 2018
  4. Full implementation of diamond wire is set for multicrystalline wafer cutting
  5. US and India trade policies seek to foster domestic manufacturing growth
  6. PV inverter suppliers are entering a new era of digitalization with new digital business models
  7. Grid-scale solar plus storage will take centre stage in 2018, creating strong growth prospects for long-duration storage
  8. Electric vehicles will finally start realizing their potential, paving the way for new synergies with stationary energy storage

In 2018, the technology for floating PV systems will move from niche applications to steady market uptake, say market researchers Edurne Zoco and Sam Wilkinson at IHS Markit Solar and Energy Storage. These save land use, reduce evaporation from reservoirs and generate more electricity by using the cooling effect of water.

To date China, Japan, and South Korea have deployed the bulk of the more than 450 MW of installed floating photovoltaic (PV) panels. China will consolidate its position as the world leader in 2018, having already completed the world’s largest floating PV system of 40 MW, alongside plans to continue with 70 MW and 150 MW projects in Q1.

While China is set to stay at the forefront, new potential markets are also emerging, such as India with a 10 GW tender, and the Netherlands with a 2.3 GW plan by 2023. This rapid growth of market opportunities will increase the number of companies with floating solar initiatives and give the current market leader, French-based Ciel et Terre, more competition.

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