Top 10 Cleantech Trends for 2021 By IHS Markit

Highlights :

  • British-American information provider IHS Markit has identified the top 10 cleantech trends expected this year in technologies that reduce carbon emissions and confront climate change.
  • According to the white paper’s predictions, in 2021, China mainland will maintain its lead as the largest floating PV market followed by India, South Korea, and Vietnam. Asia is expected to account for over 70 percent of total floating PV installations until 2024.
Top 10 Cleantech Trends for 2021 By IHS Markit

Asia will account for over 70 percent of total floating PV installations by 2024, says London-based information provider IHS Markit, among other cleantech trends expected this year. The whitepaper “10 Cleantech Trends in 2021” makes the following predictions vis a vis the renewables sector:

1. Renewable installations will rebound by double- digits after covid-19 impasse

Annual solar installations are predicted to grow by over 30% in 2021 after volatile demand in 2020, triggered by the covid-19 pandemic. Annual onshore wind installations in 2021 will continue to be derived from installation rushes in markets facing imminent subsidy cuts including the US and mainland China. Non-mainstream renewables such as geothermal will continue generating increasing attention from conventional energy companies and investors – nearly 0.5GW of new capacity to be commissioned throughout 2021, with Indonesia and Kenya leading the global market.

2. Rapid solar technology innovation continues despite shrinking PV system costs

Average module efficiency records continue to increase, surpassing 22.5% in PERC monocrystalline cell commercial production and are forecast to reach 24% by 2022. Perovskites technologies is set to continue breaking efficiency records, but the technology will only be mature for commercial production in the next five years.

3. Offshore wind annual installations to surpass the 10 GW threshold

In 2021 the offshore wind industry will deploy more than 10 GW of capacity, nearly twice as much as last year, driven by the boom in installations in mainland China. Capacity tenders will also burgeon this year with over 20 GW worth of capacity to be auctioned in the UK, France, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, the US, Japan and Taiwan.

4. Floating installations remain niche and lack scale but continue its acceleration path for both off- shore wind and solar PV technologies

In 2021, for the first time, commercial floating capacity, the future of offshore wind in deep waters, will be allocated through auctions in the UK and France. However, the industry is yet to narrow down field of designs to accelerate growth.

Floating solar is a growing opportunity for developers to install solar in countries that are land constrained. In 2021, China mainland will maintain its lead as the largest Floating PV market followed by India, South Korea, and Vietnam. IHS Markit expects Asia to account for over 70 percent of total floating PV installations until 2024.

5. Recycling becomes a priority for companies and governments globally

New policies for battery recycling will be led by the automotive industry, spurred on with a sense of urgency due to the shorter life cycle of batteries compared to solar panels and wind turbines and the scale of the EV sector.

With over 20 GW of the installed onshore wind fleet globally exceeding their 20-year design life in 2021, growing the share of recycling, especially of turbine blades, will be important to meet announced carbon neutrality goals and pave the way towards a circular economy.

6. Li-ion price and technology trends in the energy storage sector will hinge on the automotive industry more than ever

Despite the rapid growth of the grid-connected battery energy storage market, it will account for only a minor share of global demand for Li-ion batteries. In 2021, the automotive & transport sector will account for 80% of Li-ion battery demand – a figure that is set to rise to 90% by the middle of the decade.

7. Sustainability and security of supply concerns will continue to drive the localization of battery manufacturing

With national plans to reduce carbon emissions hinging on the electrification of transport, governments are increasingly promoting the development of local battery manufacturing. In North America and Europe, over 80% of global battery cell manufacturing was located in China at the end of 2020.

8. 2021 will see more cleantech and electric mobility companies choose to enter the public markets using SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company)

In 2020, the 16 cleantech and electric mobility startups choosing to go public via SPAC received an average valuation of $2 billion, with the resulting net proceeds from the merger averaging $470 million among the companies that disclosed this metric. It is remarkable that 50% of this cohort do not yet offer any commercial products.

IHS Markit expects that in the near term, more companies in the cleantech and electric mobility sector will choose to enter the public markets using SPAC, as this pathway offers high cash benefits and media attention, which are invaluable to companies looking to quickly capture market share.

9. Low Carbon hydrogen projects enjoy exponential growth

In 2020, six Major European countries and the European Commission released hydrogen strategies amid the COVID 19 pandemic and around US$ 44 Billion of funding was made available for hydrogen projects in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal alone, up to 2030.

The declining cost of low-carbon hydrogen is anticipated to continue to fall by a further 40% through 2025 due to the falling cost of renewables electricity, opening up more opportunites for fresh projects.

10. Hydrogen company stocks will build on their 2020 run up

2020 saw a boom in stock prices as nations increasingly incorporated the low-carbon gas into their decarbonization strategies, and IHS Markit anticipates hydrogen-related investment will continue to boom. Government support continues to de-risk investment and additional policy measures, like Canada’s Clean Fuel Standards, add incentives to development.

But business models and technologies are nascent, and to defray risks, joint ventures and strategic partnerships, GM’s proposal take a 10% stake in Nikola, are expected.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.