Newly installed solar capacity from projects exceeding 4 MW in size has dropped from around 20 GW in the first six months of 2017, to approximately 16 GW in the same period of this year, according to preliminary figures released by U.K.-based Wiki-Solar.org.
Overall, cumulative capacity for solar parks has reached about 160 GW, most of which is deployed in China (56.8 GW), the United States (31.0 GW), India (21.3 GW), the United Kingdom (6.7 GW) and Germany (5 GW).
“2018 may be the first year this decade to fail to set a new record,” Wiki-Solar analysts said in their statement. “India is pressing ahead with competitive tendering for solar capacity at economical grid prices. Meanwhile other markets where solar is a low-cost alternative, such as Chile, Australia and Brazil are increasing their contribution,” said Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe.
Wolfe also stressed that the Spanish PV market is now recovering and that it may soon overcome other mature markets, such as Germany and the U.K., while Japan, France, the Philippines and Thailand are holding their positions by steadily increasing capacity.
China, which saw a 30% decline in the installation of new large-scale solar plants in the first six months of this year, has been mainly responsible for this year’s drop, Wolfe went on to say.
This, however, is being partly offset in countries “where solar is at – or close to – grid parity, and is competing in the commercial energy market,” he said.