Because of strong demand for rooftop solar forecast this year in key markets and further drops in pricing, Deutsche Bank believes the solar industry will transition from subsidized to sustainable in 2014.
The industry passed the 100 gigawatt (GW) threshold in 2012 and because of strong demand expected this year, the Bank expects solar to grow 20% - to 30 GW this year. China, for example, is set for astounding growth.
By Jeff Spross
Deutsche Bank just released new analyses concluding that the global solar market will become sustainable on its own terms by the end of 2014, no longer needing subsidies to continue performing.
The German-based bank said that rooftop solar is looking especially robust, and sees strong demand in solar markets in India, China, Britain, Germany, and the US. As a result, Deutsche Bank actually increased its forecast for solar demand in 2013 to 30 gigawatts - a 20% increase over 2012.
Here's Renew Economy with a summary of Deutsche Banks's logic:
The key for Deutsche is the emergence of unsubsidised markets in many key countries. It points, for instance, to India, where despite delays in the national solar program, huge demand for state based schemes has produced very competitive tenders, in the [12 cents per kilowatt hour] range. Given the country's high solar radiation profile and high electricity prices paid by industrial customers, it says several conglomerates are considering large scale implementation of solar for self consumption.
"Grid parity has been reached in India even despite the high cost of capital of around 10-12 percent," Deutsche Bank notes, and also despite a slight rise in module prices of [3 to 5 cents per kilowatt] in recent months (good for manufacturers).
Italy is another country that appears to be at grid parity, where several developers are under advanced discussions to develop unsubsidized projects in Southern Italy. Deutsche Bank says that for small commercial enterprises that can achieve 50 percent or more self consumption, solar is competitive with grid electricity in most parts of Italy, and commercial businesses in Germany that have the load profile to achieve up to 90 percent self consumption are also finding solar as an attractive source of power generation.
Deutsche bank says demand expected in subsidised markets such as Japan and the UK, including Northern Ireland, is expected to be strong, the US is likely to introduce favourable legislation, including giving solar installations the same status as real estate investment trusts, strong pipelines in Africa and the Middle east, and unexpectedly strong demand in countries such as Mexico and Caribbean nations means that its forecasts for the year are likely to rise.
As Renew Economy also points out, this is the third report in the past month anticipating a bright future for the global solar market: UBS released a report that concluded an "unsubsidized solar revolution" was in the works, "Thanks to significant cost reductions and rising retail tariffs, households and commercial users are set to install solar systems to reduce electricity bills - without any subsidies." And Macquarie Group argued that costs for rooftop solar in Germany have fallen so far that even with subsidy cuts "solar installations could continue at a torrid pace."
Here in America, solar power installations boomed over the course of 2011 and 2012, even as the price of solar systems continued to plunge. To a large extent, the American solar boom has been driven by third party leasing agreements - which are heavily involved in rooftop installation.
Meanwhile, on the international scene, the cost of manufacturing solar panels in China is expected to drop to an all-new low of 42 cents per watt in 2015, and power generated from solar is predicted to undercut that produced by both coal and most forms of natural gas within a decade.
This article first appeared on Think Progress: