L R AS Published on Monday 13 September 2021 - n° 373 - Categories:forecasts;

DNV gives its opinion on solar installations in 2050!

The world could install 12.4 TW of solar PV panels by 2050 (up from 601 GW at the end of 2019), according to consultancy DNV. This figure may not be enough

to limit the global temperature rise to 2° Celsius. The world is not moving fast enough to avoid a climate catastrophe.

The most damning indictment of the DNV study is that the world's response to the pandemic has been to revive the old world, not start a new one. For DNV, "The pandemic has been a lost opportunity. Recovery plans have largely focused on protection rather than transformation of existing industries.

Yet, DNV is more optimistic than last year : l

Solar is expected to grow exponentially over the decade, with capacity in this asset class increasing 20-fold by 2050. By then, more than a third (36%) of all grid-connected electricity generation will be solar. Photovoltaics will have become the largest supplier of electricity in the world. Combined with wind power, these two sources will provide almost 70% of the world's electricity.

Solar energy in global energy systems will play an increasing role: Power-to-x markets, increasing electricity connectivity, demand response, carbon pricing and, of course, energy storage which combined with PV is becoming a new class of power plants. Co-located hybrid projects will account for 12% of all grid-connected power generators by 2050.

"Combined with falling costs and technological advances in battery storage, variable renewables are already phasing out thermal power generation. The business case will become compelling by 2030.

Solar will continue to see its costs fall. Capital and operating expenditure forecasts will fall. The conversion efficiency of panels will increase from an average of 19% today to 26% by 2050, thanks to the increasing adoption of single-axis trackers and bifacial panels.

The situation will not be all rosy :

As large amounts of zero marginal cost renewables enter the system, wholesale electricity markets are expected to experience significant volatility. DNV's analysis shows that in Europe alone, electricity prices will be zero for 8% of the time by 2050, meaning that 88 GWh, or about 3% of the continent's total solar generation, will be lost.

This price cannibalisation will have an impact on the deployment rate. Annual solar PV installations are expected to slow down after peaking at around 370 GW per year around 2030. The grid will also remain an obstacle. More than $12 trillion will have to be invested to build a larger, more adaptable grid.

Solar is now clearly entering a new phase. The next decade will see solar photovoltaics emerge as the world's leading energy source. It is the technology best placed to accomplish many of the difficult tasks required to decarbonise large parts of the world's economies.


PV Tech of 7 September 2021

Subscribe to the newsletter "Le Fil de l'Actu"...