Global Solar Outlook 2024- BNEF Expects 655GWdc Addition In Best Case

Highlights :

  • The report expects India to add over 18 GW in 2024, a number that will dissappoint many hoping for a larger achievement this year.
Global Solar Outlook 2024- BNEF Expects 655GWdc Addition In Best Case

Amid early expectations of a possible stall in China’s solar additions in 2024, comes the latest Global PV Market Outlook from BNEF. The report has projected up to 655GWdc of solar PV capacity additions this year in its optimistic scenario, with its conservative forecast projecting 520GWdc. For the record, it tracked 444GWdc of solar capacity additions in 2023.

China, US and India will continue to lead the additions in 2024, with Brazil  breaking into the top 5 ahead of Germany possibly, says BNEF. While the Chinese market is expected to add 313.7GWdc, or well over half of global capacity additions in 2024, the US (40.6GWdc), India (18.1GWdc), Brazil (17GWdc) and Germany (16.5GWdc) bring up the next 5 significant contributions. The top 6 in effect contributing over 60% of global additions in the best case scenario.

2023 was a strong year for the global solar PV industry with the 444GWdc of installed capacity smashing records, and the 2022 number of 252GWdc comprehensively. This 76% growth in 2023 was powered by China which had  268GWdc, 60.4% of the global installed capacity.

Clouds On the Horizon

Even as the BNEF report makes these projections, the global solar market faces the overhang of overcapacity, thanks mainly to a massive build up in China, that is expected to trail off only by 2026. Seen by many as a Chinese measure to protect their overwhelming leadership and marketshare in the solar supply chain, this has already led to Polysilicon prices, dropping to multi year lows of $8 per kg by year end in 2023. That in turn has fed into lower module prices, so much so that manufacturers in Europe have practically thrown up their hands, even as manufacturers in other regions count on exports (India to the US), strong domestic demand under the umbrella of tariffs (US and India), and Chinese investment into manufacturing (Brazil).

China Solar Manufacturing growth 2022-2023

Heading For a Glut?

China’s Ministry of Information Technology and Manufacturing, in a report on the performance of the solar manufacturing sector has shared that value of output grew 64% for modules in 2024, and 66% for polysilicon. Module exports came in at 211 GW, even as wafer exports were at 70 GW and cell exports at 39.3 GW.  Europe accounted for the major share of Chinese module exports, at over 50% of the total , something that has also led to the highest ever inventory levels in the continent.

A simple way out for China to maintain dominance is of course to send our module export plants in other key markets, something it has started doing with the outreach across SE Asia, and the US, besides possibly Europe.

Interestingly, BNEF does not expect the troubles in the red sea to impact module supplies, particularly to Europe, significantly. That is mainly due to the high inventory level in Europe, that is expected to serve the continent’s requirements well for some time.

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Tony Cheu

Tony is a BSc who has shifted from a career in finance to journalism recently. Passionate about the energy transition, he is particularly keen on the moves being made in the OECD countries to contribute to the energy transition.